The foliage and berries of Belladonna (Atropa belladona) contain tropane alkaloids, such as Atropine, which are extremely toxic in high doses, causing delirium, hallucination, and death. These chemicals are common in plants belonging to the family Solanaceae; more benign members of the group include the potato, the tomato, and the eggplant. These alkaloids prevent nerve transmission by blocking the binding site of acetylcholine and this has beneficial, pharmacological, application relating to surgery of the eye.

The beautiful specimen seen here was photographed on the southern coast of Appledore Island, the largest of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of Maine.


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