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Gardening – Angels’ Trumpets Brugmansia

ANGEL’S TRUMPETS – MOONFLOWERS

Brugmansia By Debbie Greenfingers

 I am writing about one of my favourite plants this month to start off the New Year. This is a fascinating plant with many aspects to it’s make up, both good and bad!  We are featuring ‘New Age notions’ and healing benefits in this month’s magazine, so I can’t think of a better plant to feature than the Brugmansia which has a weird and wonderful past.

 Known as Angel’s Trumpets or Moonflowers, these genuses of flowers are really beautiful and grow well on the Island, although caution is needed as they are highly toxic if digested.  Growing to the size of a large shrub or small tree with large oval leaves, the Brugmansia is remembered for it’s truly beautiful large, pendulous, trumpet shaped flowers which can be single or double.  The colours usually vary from white through the yellows to orange. Originating from South America – later naturalized in areas of Africa, Australia and Asia, this plant is easily grown in fertile, well drained soil (as well as in pots) in sun or part shade, and flowers throughout the year.

 HERBAL HEALING – Known as Moonflowers, the Brugmansia flowers have a strong scent that is most noticeable in the evening and attracts pollinating moths.

The history of the plant is quite a story.  The plant has many healing qualities and medical values which were used extensively in the past, although they can be artificially synthesized now, meaning the Brugmansia is no longer grown for healing uses.

It was used for healing, usually externally, for hundreds of years to treat skin irritations through poultices and tinctures, as well as, aiding pain relief for Dermatitis, Arthritis and Rheumatism.

 THE DARK SIDE – But the Brugmansia has a darker side!  Going back hundreds of years it was used by the ancient tribes of the indigenous cultures of South America for Witchcraft.  Used traditionally as a hallucinogen for divination and for communicating with the ancestors.  If the plant is digested, it can be very dangerous and has been used to cause vomiting in order to remove worms and other stomach contents.  It has also been used to extract information from captives and for seduction! Ultimately though, the ingestion of the Angel’s Trumpet has been used for Murder!

 SWEET DREAMS – It is quite a story for such a beautiful and peaceful plant, and I have heard that if you sleep under a Brugmansia tree, you can have fantastic and vivid dreams.  Although not sold extensively in the garden centres, it is available in Fuerteventura, and I have seen many plants growing in gardens. I personally am also sourcing seeds from abroad and growing a selection of common and more unusual plants as they thrive here in our climate, and they should be available later in the year. So don’t be put off by the strange and dark history of this plant as it is a very special one to have in your garden. It will flower and provide you with visual pleasure all year round.

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