Beautiful lady or deadly poison?
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. Today, he is probably best known for his short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and his satirical lexicon The Devil’s Dictionary. Born June 24, 1842, died December 26, 1913 (age 71)
FunVOCAB: Belladonna or deadly nightshade
Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commonly known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Solanaceae, native to Europe, North Africa, Western Asia, and some parts of Canada and the United States. The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids. These toxins include scopolamine and hyoscyamine, which cause a bizarre delirium and hallucinations, and are also used as pharmaceutical anticholinergics. The drug atropine is derived from the plant.
It has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. Before the Middle Ages, it was used as an anesthetic for surgery; the ancient Romans used it as a poison (the wife of Emperor Augustus and the wife of Claudius both were rumored to have used it for murder); and, predating this, it was used to make poison-tipped arrows.