Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette
Gran warns park users after spotting ‘deadly nightshade’
TOXIC PLANT IS SAID TO BE GROWING IN GUNNERSBURY
A WEST London grandmother who believes she spotted a “deadly” plant in her local play park is urgently warning parents who take their children to play in the area.
Terry Brent, of Little Ealing, said she knew instantly what the deadly plant was as soon as she spotted it in Gunnersbury Park in Hounslow.
The 61-year-old, who has six grown children and nine grandchildren, had taken three of her grandchildren to the local park to collect acorns when she said she spotted the poisonous plant growing there.
Atropa belladonna, more commonly known as belladonna or ‘deadly nightshade’, is distinctive by its bell-shaped purple flowers and shiny black berries.
Deadly nightshade berries are classed as “highly poisonous” and “dangerous” by the Woodland Trust.
The berries are toxic and, if consumed, can cause effects including blurred vision, a rash, headaches, slurred speech, hallucinations, convulsions and even death.
The berries pose the greatest danger to children, as they are attractive and are deceptively sweet at first bite.
Terry said she recognised the plant in Gunnersbury Park from knowledge she learnt from her own grandparents.
“I was brought up in the country and from a very young age my nan and grandad would point out the dangerous flowers and the safe ons,” she said.
Terry said she and her grandchildren were collecting acorns to take home and plant in pots to grow when she spotted “several large bunches” of the apparent Nightshade growing around the fences in the play park, opposite the sports hall.
“We were very concerned to see it growing in a children’s play ground,” said Terry, “especially one for the younger age group of children.”
Posting an image of the Nightshade plant on the Nextdoor app, Terry urged parents in the area to “please be careful” as she warned them about the presence of the toxic plant.
Terry said she has since emailed the park to “get them to check it out and let me know if I was correct about it being nightshade,” but has not heard anything back.