It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Botanical Illustration Show as a Public Service!

(Rhamnus frangula 'Columnaris' by Gordon Palmer)
Last Sunday a mother with a 2-3 yr old son rushed into the Denver Botanic Gardens. She was crying, had a twig with berries in her hand and said that her son had eaten the berries and vomited several times. She was worried that her son suffered from severe poisoning. The poison control center needed to get the plant identified prior to possible treatment and that was the reason why she rushed to the Gardens. This plant was exactly the same as one of the paintings on display in the Botanical Illustration Student Art show, as if artist Gordon Palmer would have used that twig as his specimen to paint from. I showed the mother the painting and said that her plant was most likely Rhamnus frangula. The identification was confirmed later by a DBG horticulture staff member.
The berries of Rhamnus frangula are not exactly poisonous but are uneatable, since if swallowed they cause vomiting. Of course this is individual and different individuals react differently, but no human fatalities are documented.
On a personal note, 21 years ago I was in the same position as that crying mother. After eating a handful of R. frangula berries followed by a heavy vomiting episode my daughter, who is now 21 years older, has not eaten Rhanmus frangula berries again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually those berries look good enough to eat thanks to the fine talent of Gordon Palmer!