Wicked Plants: The Movie

Update 1/8/09 – Amy just posted more about the making of this movie over on Garden Rant. Check it out!

Amy Stewart is one of my very favorite garden writers. I mean, who wouldn’t love someone who wrote a WHOLE BOOK about earthworms, and managed to make it good, too?

Then Flower Confidential: all the inside dirt on the cut flower industry wrapped in one dustcover. I kept finding I was holding my breath while reading – one thinks of the horticultural world as being manned by pleasant elderly ladies with a strong grip and a fantastic recommendation for a Hardy Geranium – I just didn’t expect all the intrigue and drama, though I should have after reading that book on orchids that was so popular a few years back.

Anyway, when I heard the title of Amy’s latest book I got super excited – Wicked Plants. From the Amazon blurb:

It’s an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend. You’ll learn which plants to avoid (like exploding shrubs)

Wait, hold up – exploding shrubs? Seriously? This is something us landscape designers should have been notified about in horticulture school. The blurb goes on to call the botanical drawings “menacing” and “splendidly ghastly”.

Surprisingly, we don’t have to wait till Halloween for it; it’s getting released in May. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy, so you can expect a review here soon after release. I can’t wait to read more about my favorite toxic beauty, Ricinus communis, the lush and tropical-looking Castor Bean.

Castor Bean Plant photo by Pro-Zak on Flickr

Castor Bean Plant photo by Randy Read on Flickr


  1. says

    Oh I’ll be dashed. I think I’m the most surprised that anyone knew what it was – I mean, they are pretty distinctive, but the public on the whole doesn’t seem terrifically educated about plant ID and uses of plants!

    That’s too funny.

  2. says

    That’s a great YouTube vid–I can hardly wait to see the book!

    When we lived in SoCal, there were oleander plants everywhere throughout the neighborhoods, lining the streets. I’m still amazed we didn’t hear about kiddos or animals getting sick from them.


    Aerie-el’s last blog post..SUET FEEDERS

  3. Airlia says

    My goodness! That was entertaining. Wicked plants, what a good thing to learn about. I learn something new every time I come to your site :) Thank you!

  4. says

    It’s funny Aerie-el, I can recall any number of dangerous things I did as a kid that wouldn’t be allowed now (skateboarding on my belly face-first downhill! Fireworks!), but I don’t even have second-hand stories of terrible things going wrong from those activities. I think it’s the same with poisonous plants; children and pets probably gnaw on them a lot less than our worried minds would suspect.

    Even so, better safe than sorry – I’m only planting two poisonous beauties in my garden – Hellebores (leathery and would be tough to eat) and a Trumpet Flower/ Brugmansia/ used to be Datura which I think I’ll just fence off from the chickens at least. I can’t resist those giant fragrant trumpets!

    Airlia! So nice to see you here!

  5. shar pau says

    I know first hand about CASTOR OIL!!!
    As I young Child I was given as well as my Sibblings the CASTOR OIL. No matter what you were alling from It was given. I used to
    up-chuck at the sight of the bottle and the spoon which seemed so large at the time. The most Gastly Taste you could ever think of.
    I am sure I never had to use this Castor Oil on my Son. Wouldn’t think of putting him through what I had to in my Childhood.
    I found that artical very interesting, if only my Grandmother &
    Mother had known this. Glorry BE.

  6. shar pau says

    I do not know of any plant that is WICKED! All plants are
    Beautiful and have to be respected, for what they are . Even
    the POISON ones. You just have to do your home work on the plants or the woods you might be viviting. That is what I have done in the past and always have taken a plant book on wild plants as well as wild Poisonous plants . Whenever I go camping and am in a very woodsie area. Never had POISON IVY or POSIN OAK.
    So if you keep yourself Up to whats in the area you are going to , as well as where you live , you will be free of the trama of some plants that feel you are invading THEIR SPACE !!!! It’s all about SPACE !!!!!

  7. rima says

    You are being a little silly aren’t you, shar pau? People are just having fun with an interesting and unsusual subject. Noone is casting aspersions on your flora-friends. Lighten-up and stop being so flowerier-than-thou.

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