The Death Plant of Java.
A magnificent kali mujah, or death plant of Java, has been recently received in Philadelphia. The kali mujah is found only in the volcanic districts of Java and Sumatra, and then rarely. It grows from two to three and a half feet in height, with long, slender stems armed with thorns nearly an inch long, and covered with brown satin-smooth leaves of a heart shape and of delicate emerald on one side, and blood-red, streaked with^cream, on the other. The flowers of the death plant are large, milk white, and cup-like, being about the size and depth of a large coffee cup, and having the rim guarded by fine, briar-like thorns. The peculiarity of the plant lies in these flowers, which, beautiful as they are, distil continually a deadly perfume so powerful as to overcome, if inhaled any length of time, a full-grown man, and killing all forms of insecr, life approaching it. The perfume, though more pungent, is as sickeningly sweet as chloroform, which it greatly resembles in effect, producing insensibility, but convulsing at the same time the muscles of the face, especially those abeut the mouth and eyes, drawing the former up into a grin. An inhalation is followed by a violent headache and a ringing in the ears, which gives way to a temporary deafness, often total while it lasts. Other plants seem to shun the kali mujah, which might be termed the Ishmael of the vegetable kingdom, for it grows isolated from every other form of vegetation, though the soil about it may be fertile. All insects and birds instinctively seem to avoid all contact with it, but when accidentally approaching it have been observed to drop to the earth, even when as far from it as'i three feet, and' unless at once removed soon died, evincing the same symptoms as when etherized.
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The Death Plant of Java., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2498, 22 August 1890
The Death Plant of Java. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2498, 22 August 1890
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