(Multitasking) plant of the day


Name : Atropa belladona belongs to the Solanaceae family. It is also called Belladonna, beautiful cherry, lady-in-law, black button or deadly nightshade.

Habitat : It is a large perennial plant that grows mainly Mediterranean ponds and in Asia. It is also cultivated in Germany, England and the United States for pharmaceutical purposes.
It is a plant that can live for several years.

Flowering period: From June to August

Harvest period: During September and October

Size : Belladonna measures between 1.5 to 2 meters tall.


The Atropa belladona also called Belladonna takes its name from Atropos, one of the three Greek moires, bella dona meaning beautiful lady in Italian. In the antiquity, priests and priestesses used it for its hallucinatory effects. During the Renaissance, Italian women used it to beautify themselves. They applied belladonna-based ointments to their skin, which made it paler and made their cheeks pinker. They also used it to dilate their pupils and to have a major glance.

This plant is now well known for its toxicity. It is extremely dangerous, a few berries can kill an adult. Although only present in very small amounts (less than 1 percent), tropane alkaloids are the ones responsible for  its harmfulness.

In the root there are 13 tropane alkaloids and 7 in the aerial parts. The main ones are hyoscyamine, atropine and scopolamine, although the most common is hyoscyamine (90%).

The alkaloids found in belladonna are parasympatholytic agents; which means that they act on the parasympathetic nervous system. In addition, they can cause an increase in heart rate, smooth muscle fiber relaxation in the intestinal, urinary and bronchial system.

In high doses, Atropa Belladona has an effect on the central nervous system, causing agitation, confusion, delusions and hallucinations.

Written by Mayssa Viollé

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