Hyocyamus albus

Henbane                                                                                     Υοσκύαμος ο λευκός

Solanaceae - nightshade family                                                                         Dicot.


Henbane is a dark green, rough, hairy plant with stiff stems.It grows in waste places, rocks and crevicesin steps and walls. The lower egg shaped leaves with broad lobes form a rosette from which the curved flower stems radiate. The stem leaves are elliptical and alternate, each has a single flower in it's axil. The flowers have a long green calyx tube and although named albus are they are pale yellow.

Like all the solanaceae family Henbane is poisonous, it contains the important pharmacological agent, hyoscine.


14-16mm, 15-45cm,                                                JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

Hypericum empetrifolium.
St. John's wort


Like other members of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, henbane is a poisonous plant and contains a number of potent substances including scopolamine and hyoscine. Both used in modern medicine as anti nausea drugs and in opthalmology.

The dead who wandered along the River Styx wore crowns of henbane to help them forget the living.

Henbane was sacred to Apollo and mixed with other herbs, it was burned to create intoxicating fumes which were inhaled by the priestesses of the Oracle of Delphi, who in a "divine kind of madness"  foretold the future.

Hippocrepis emerus
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