Fly Poison (Amianthium musciloxicum)

 Fly Poison

Fly Poison (Amianthium musciloxicum)

All parts of this plant are poisonous especially the roots.   It is a perennial and is one of the first to emerge in the spring.   It is also called stagger grass because if livestock eat it they will stagger around until it is out of their system.

The Cherokee would use the roots to make a topical medicine to cure itching.   They would also use it to make a poison for crows that were eating parts of their gardens.   Europeans would mix it with sugar to kill flies.

The plant cannot self pollinate and it is pollinated mostly by beetles.   It grows one to two feet tall with bright orange fruit.  It likes moist acid soils with no more than two hours of sun per day.   It can be found across the eastern US and normally blooms from mid May through June.

Fly poison bloomIt is a beautiful plant but one that you would want to handle with caution and latex gloves.

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