Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Snape Doesn't Know Everything

In Harry Potter Professor Snape tries to show how ignorant Harry is and how important it is for him to know things in order to do better magic. Of course in theory according to the books and movie, Snape is just being a good guy (cough) trying to make Harry stronger so he can defeat Voldemort in the end.

But who would have known that Snape was wrong? Hmm. Makes you think about how that pompous exterior would have reacted, had he lived, to know he had given a classroom of students misinformation.
The truth is that Monkshood and Wolsfbane are not the same. However, a lot of people think that they are.

Monkshood is known as Aconitum napellus and has blue flowers, but Wolfsbane is actually Aconitum vulparia, and has yellowish flowers. Both are, however, quite poisonous. Wolfsbane is said to deter a werewolf (probably because they don't want to be poisoned). In ancient times it was used to poison the water supply of  the enemy. The plants do serve some medicinal purposes, however, mostly topically.

There are actually 109 species of Aconitum - all of which are poisonous. You can order seeds or plants and they are beautiful flowers. Just know that if you handle these plants your hands could suffer from numbness. If you ingest them you could die. There is no antidote.

So, teaching young children about the plants - well, maybe Snape was being helpful, or maybe he was being hopeful. He didn't seem to actually like children a whole lot, after all.

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