To the nightshade family belong plants that are poisonous and plants
that are not, but the thrilling name, deadly nightshade, carries with it
the certainty of poison.
The plant is an annual and you may often find it growing in a neglected
corner of the garden as well as in waste places. It is a tall plant; the
one I remember in our own garden reached to the top of a five-foot board
fence. Its leaves are rather triangular in shape, they are dark green
and the wavy edges are notched rather than toothed. The flowers are
white and grow in small clusters. The fruit is a berry, round, black,
and smooth, with calyx adhering to it. The berry clusters grow at the
end of drooping stems. This must not be mistaken for the high-bush
blueberry, for to eat the fruit would be most dangerous.
The antidotes for nightshade poison are emetics, cathartics, and
stimulants. The poison should be thrown off the stomach first, then
strong coffee be given as a stimulant.