dumbcane (was: Moles and other Geophyte predators)

Alberto Castillo ezeizabotgard@hotmail.com
Tue, 03 Jan 2006 14:12:13 PST
>dave, i believe the origin of the term dumbcane was
>not that children or anyone else would unwittingly
>chew on this plant, but that it was used as a
>punishment for escaped slaves in the caribbean (to
>have the cut stems rubbed inside their mouths and thus
>they would not be able to speak for several days).
>tsuh yang

Hi Tsuh:
           It is actually the "dumbman's cane". The oxalate crystals are 
present in Spatiphyllum, Arum, Zantedeschia, Anthurium, Philodendron, 
Dracontium and any aroid you can think of, when raw. That practice was 
common in Brazil as well. A piece of stem was placed horizontally in the 
slave's mouth and then forced to bite it.


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