The deadly hallucinogenic plant that flowered inside a concrete pedestrian island on 93rd Street and Columbus Avenue was ripped from its roots on Monday — but not before it briefly went viral on the Internet.
The jimsonweed, or Datura stramonium for Latin speakers, was first spotted by former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who told West Side Rag that it is toxic when consumed in even small amounts. With Trader Joe’s and Mani Market so close by, it’s hard to imagine anyone eating the plant, but sometimes people want a snack to munch on while waiting in those long Trader Joe’s lines. Also, dogs eat things.
After we alerted the Department of Transportation on Sunday, workers came out on Monday to get rid of the plant. Underneath it were a few small sad plants, apparently deprived of sun by the shadows from the poisonous bush. The sign in the middle appears to be from “Love Your Street Tree Day”.
The city did not know the plant’s origins, but plans to investigate. Benepe says Jimsonweed is often spread by the wind or animals who eat and poop it out.
“The City removed the plant today,” a DOT spokesman wrote. “DOT did not plant here and does not handle plantings at these pedestrian refuge islands. We are checking records for any local entity that has offered to maintain the area in the past.”