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Sophora secundiflora flowerMescal bean (Sophora secundiflora) Info
A native of Aztlan, this Venus plant likes heat and dry areas. Its beautiful violet flowers have a strong fragrance of grape Kool-Aid that some love and for others is overpowering. The seeds are part of the rituals of the Peyote Cult and are made into necklaces. They contain a lethal alkaloid related to nicotine and are for decoration only.  Despite their extreme poisonousness, this is a widely grown tree and is considered of low toxicity because the very hard seeds have to be chewed up for the alkaloid to be released in lethal quantities.  This is a good example of how we can get along fine with a dangerous plant if we respect it--and of how a plant can protect itself from predation without indiscriminately killing. This tree has nothing to do with mescaline, by the way. Top

How to grow it: Nick seeds or file a small spot off the end. Soak the nicked seeds for 12 hours in hot water (do not use a thermos used for eating--plastic absorbs toxins). This plant grows 6-12 feet tall outside and usually produces multiple trunks, which look pretty impressive, but it can be kept in a pot, because it grows quite slowly. It likes alkaline soil, such as occurs in the desert, Texas, and Florida, and will grow amongst granite slabs. General growing info Top

 

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Peyote Cult Rituals
Venus Plant

2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission