Um… What should we write about today?
I am a firm believer that those who would destroy nature should in turn be destroyed by nature. With this in mind I have made numerous planning applications to my local council for a pit full of dangerous animals. Regardless of the animal that I choose the application is always turned down on the grounds that there are not enough politicians and scientists in the area to make my plans sustainable. A male Lion eats a councillor every four days and Crocodiles are about the same, Gorillas don’t even eat people and snakes would get squashed by the falling politicians. Whilst I appreciate their concern for the animals I still find the whole process frustrating.
So I applied to join The Toxic Jam Makers Society only to learn that there is no such thing and that really annoyed me because I had spent a lot of time designing a “Dodgy Jammers” logo that I had hoped would be adopted by the society once I was a full member.
Poison Pie it is then…
For this recipe you will need to find some Black Bryony, Dioscorea communis. Other berries would work but Black Bryony has an abundance of fruit and it is highly toxic.
Black Bryony is a vine that scrambles though the hedgerow. It grows happily through Hawthorn, Rowan and Rose hips and so, if you were not a murderer, if you were a forager for instance then you would be well advised to get to know this one, so that you don’t pick it by mistake. Not all of the red berries are good berries.
Those tell tale leaves will soon wither and fall off, leaving just the berries, nestling amongst your Hawthorn. This one was nestling amongst Bramble and the berries don’t look much like Blackberries so no danger there then.
Two things that I don’t want to talk about…
Firstly the flowers (I haven’t got the pictures yet). Back Bryony is a dioecious plant, meaning that there are separate male and female plants, with different flowers. Both flowers are small and green, it is just the way that they cluster that is really different. I missed the flowers but I will get them next year.
The other thing is that there is another unrelated vine with red berries that looks superficially similar called White Bryony and again I don’t have pictures yet. The biggest difference is that White Bryony has tendrils to help it to climb and Black Bryony doesn’t.
Every part of the plant is poisonous. Leaves, stem and root. It contains the same poisons (Saponins) as you find in Wild Arum (Lords and Ladies, Cuckoo-pint) and has a similar painful blistering effect so beware and take care.
“Making pies is very hard so what I suggest is go to the shop and buy a pie, then scoop out the bits that you don’t want and put your things in it.”
It is a good idea to buy some ready made pastry and cut out the shape of a little Badger. Put that on top of your new pie and cut the words, “Hugs and Kisses” into the surrounding pastry.
That ought to do it. Check your local paper to see when the Inhumane Society are holding their next Summer Fayre and take your pie along and Bob’s your Uncle.
Disclaimer: You can get in trouble for doing this.
This is Black (Hearted) Bryony.