Tropical Devil's Snare - featured in the Harry Potter series - found in Wisbech garden

PUBLISHED: 14:36 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 02 June 2010

John Balls and a rare toxic plant

John Balls and a rare toxic plant

IT S found in the Amazon and features in the Harry Potter books so John Balls was amazed to find the deadly tropical plant Devil s Snare growing in his Wisbech garden. In fact the 53-year-old had no idea what the strange plant also known as Datura stramon

IT'S found in the Amazon and features in the Harry Potter books so John Balls was amazed to find the deadly tropical plant Devil's Snare growing in his Wisbech garden.

In fact the 53-year-old had no idea what the strange plant also known as Datura stramonium was until he saw it featured on TV.

Mr Balls of Peldon Drive said: "It was identified by some experts as this Devil's Snare. I sat there thinking that is what I have got in my garden."

Just how the plant, which is used by South American Indians on their hunting spears and by Hindu monks for its hallucinogenic qualities, came to take root in Wisbech remains a mystery. The seeds could have travelled the thousands of miles in the stomachs of birds before being deposited in the Fens.

While experts have advised anyone finding the plant to wrap it in plastic before pulling it up and disposing of it Mr Balls says he is going to leave it to see what happens.

He said: "I don't think it will poison me just be touching it, I haven't been poisoned yet. It has things on which look like conkers so I will be interested to see if they open up."

In the Harry Potter stories first year students at Hogwarts learn about Devil's Snare in herb classes.


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