Amarylis disticha, The bulb is used for poisoning arrows from A Narrative of Four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots.
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Image ID: SIL-SIL28-292-01_crop
Original Caption: Amarylis disticha, The bulb is used for poisoning arrows.
Poison arrows have been relied on by indigenous people in Africa for thousands of years, much like bullets are relied on by today's hunters all over the globe. In South Africa, the bulb of this plant, the Boophone disticha, is used in making these poison arrows. The name “Boophone” derives from the Greek words meaning “ox slaughter,” referring to the bulb’s poisonous properties. The plant is not just used for making poison though. It is a commonly traded medicinal herb. After the flowers seen in this image bloom, the Boophone disticha produces a fan of bright, spiky leaves that grazing livestock often eat. But, they are sure to avoid the bulb. The ox must have warned them!