What does the deadly nightshade symbolize?

Deadly nightshade is a symbol of deception, danger, and death.

Atropa belladonna, the deadly nightshade, is a member of the solanaceae family, which includes other very poisonous plants, such as Datura stramonium, the thorn apple or devil’s trumpet, and Hyoscyamus niger, the black henbane, but also such friendly plants as the tomato, the potato, green and red peppers and the eggplant, as well as the protective mandrake and the seductive, but not so harmless, tobacco plant.

The deadly nightshade is widely distributed over Central and Southern Europe and is almost confined to chalky or calcareous soils.

The plant shows a curious responsiveness to light and shade. In shady places, on wooded hills and especially if on limestone, it grows vigorously and luxuriantly, even to the height of a tall man, but specimens exposed to the sun are, by comparison, weak and dwarfed. Paradoxically, however, the more sun and light a plant is exposed to the more poisonous it becomes, due to the increased concentration of the toxins (alkaloids) it contains. Belladonna is one of the most frequently indicated remedies for sunstroke.

Read more about Belladonna at British Homeopathic Association.

Find other Deadly Nightshade facts at ASPCA.

Check out other plants that could kill you compiled by MNN.