Solanum atropurpureum Schrank Solanaceae. Purple Devil. Purple-spined Nightshade. Herbaceous perennial. Distribution: Brazil. This ferociously spined plant contains tropane alkaloids, atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine. All are anticholinergic and block the acetylcholine mediated actions of the parasympathetic nervous system. While the alkaloids are used in medicine and as an antidote to anticholinergic nerve gas poisons, the plant itself is not used in medicine. Its sharp spines can be irritant. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

  • Dr Henry Oakeley
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