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Common Name: Stavesacre
Delphinium staphisagria is a Biennial/Perennial up to 1.00 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
All parts of the plant contain diterpene alkaloids and are highly toxic[
]. The plant is most toxic when it is young[
]. Ingestion of a lethal dose produces a feeling of excitement, followed by depression and extreme sensitivity of the nerves, followed by paralysis, a slowing of the pulse and finally death by asphyxia[
Europe - Mediterranean.
Field verges and in scrub, on hot dry soils[
]. Often found in poor soils[
Succeeds in most soils and situations[
] but prefers a rich well-drained neutral to alkaline soil[
] and is intolerant of winter-wet soils[
]. Requires an open sunny position[
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[
A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[
Stavesacre is a very poisonous plant that is rarely used in modern herbal medicine[
]. The seed is antispasmodic, cathartic, emetic and vermifuge[
]. The seeds cause a strong salivation if they are chewed and have been used in the treatment of toothache and other painful conditions of the throat and gums[
]. They are so strongly emetic and cathartic, however, that they are rarely used internally[
]. Externally, a decoction is used to treat itchy skin and parasites4]. The seed is very poisonous and should be used with great caution[
The plant has been used externally in the treatment of warts, lice and itches[
A homeopathic remedy is made from the seeds[
]. This is used in the treatment of a variety of ailments including toothache, injuries and headache[
A parasiticide is obtained from the leaves[
]. It is quite toxic and so is for external use only.
The seed is used to make a potent insecticide, parasiticide and to destroy vermin[
]. It is used to kill head lice[
Seed - sow early spring in a cold frame or mid spring outdoors. Keep moist and in a shady position until germination takes place[
]. Seed can also be sown either in a cold frame or in situ as soon as it is ripe in mid to late summer[
], though seedlings from the outdoor sowing can be killed in cold winters[
]. The seed has a limited viability so it should be stored in a sealed container at about 3°c[
]. Temperatures above 15°c inhibit germination[
]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 9 weeks at 15°c[