By Carol Tannenhauser
If the line at Trader Joe’s doesn’t blow your mind, the plant across the street could—and kill you, if you eat it.
A bush of Datura stramonium, a.k.a. Jimsonweed, is sitting in a small patch of soil inside the concrete median alongside the bike lane on Columbus Avenue at 93rd Street, across from Trader Joe’s. Jimsonweed is “a well-known hallucinogenic plant [that] is fatally toxic when consumed in even tiny amounts,” tweeted Adrian Benepe, the former commissioner of NYC parks & recreation, on Saturday. Benepe was riding his bicycle in the Columbus Avenue bike lane at 93rd Street when he spotted it on the southeast corner.
“This plant is an invasive weed that grows everywhere in ‘disturbed soils,’” Benepe later emailed WSR. “The seeds are dispersed by the wind or by animals who ingest and excrete them. This is a result of creating a planting bed and not putting anything in and not maintaining it by removing weeds. You can find Jimsonweed all over NYC now.”
Benepe said the planting bed in question is under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Transportation. We reached out to them, but, in all fairness, it’s Sunday.
We’ll update you when they respond. In the meantime, don’t eat it!