Poisonous plant from Harry Potter books discovered in Sawtry

A POISONOUS hallucinogenic plant featured in the Harry Potter books has been found growing in a garden in Sawtry. John Kubik recognised the plant – datura stramonium, or Devil s Snare - in his front garden after reading about it in a national newspaper. T

A POISONOUS hallucinogenic plant featured in the Harry Potter books has been found growing in a garden in Sawtry.

John Kubik recognised the plant - datura stramonium, or Devil's Snare - in his front garden after reading about it in a national newspaper.

The plant is known to have hallucinogenic properties, and people have died from eating the seeds. The poison can cause blurred vision and heart irregularities.

"It's quite a recognisable plant, and when I saw an article telling people it was poisonous I realised I had one in my garden. I don't know how it got there, so it must have blown in on the wind," said Mr Kubik, 50.

"It's only about 18 inches high, but I remembered the plant because it has pods on it that look a bit like conkers. It's the first year it has appeared, and I thought it looked quite nice."

Devil's Snare has sharp golf ball-sized pods half-way up with leaves similar to oak leaves. When fully mature, it can grow to over five feet in height.

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Devil's Snare is a member of the nightshade family, and appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

It is normally found in South America, and goes by numerous common names including mad hatter, loco weed, angel's trumpet, jimson weed, and stinkweed.

Sawtry plantsman and gardening journalist Ray Edwards said it was not the first time Devil's Snare had appeared in Sawtry.

"It's been around Sawtry for around ten years. It is poisonous, but not dangerous as long as you do not eat the seeds. People have died from eating the seeds, but the effects of touching the plant are mild, as long as you wash your hands afterwards."

Despite the warnings, Mr Kubik has no plans to remove the weed.

"I'm not really the gardening type and I like the look of it, so as long as it's not doing anyone any harm I'll let it grow," he said.

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