Plants That Make You Loco

Found this little gem of a website while looking up a reference for an article on zombies in chemistry.org. Apparently tetrodotoxin was supposed to turn people into “zombies,” and
datura stramonium (jimsonweed) kept ’em in line. Sounds more like Deadheads than zombies.
Plant Alkaloids
During the past 130 million years, flowering plants have colonized practically every habitat on earth, from arid deserts, boggy meadows and windswept alpine summits, to sun-baked grasslands, lush rain forests and wave-battered rocky shores. They have replaced most of the ancient ferns and seed plants that dinosaurs subsisted on, and developed a complex and fascinating relationship with insects and mammals. During these countless centuries of time, flowering plants have gradually evolved all sorts of ingenious protective devices to discourage hungry herbivorous animals. Leaves and stems have developed a variety of vicious spines and stinging hairs (trichomes). In some plants, the dense covering of silvery hairs may also provide other ecological advantages such as solar reflection and insulation in arid environments. But mechanical defenses, such as spines and trichomes, are of limited value and probably would not deter all hungry herbivores, particularly the chewing and sucking insects. Therefore, plants have developed a “chemical warfare,” a defense strategy based on a vast arsenal of chemicals which are toxic or distasteful to animals.