Author Archives: blue

Beautiful But Poisonous Flowering Plants

Flowers are a magnificent feature of our natural world that we inevitably associate with beauty, romance and, more often than not, a delicate aroma. But amongst all that dazzling colour and fragrance, some of the planet’s myriad species of flowering plants are not always what they seem…

Water Hemlock (Cicuta)

One of the highly toxic members of the Apiaceae family, Cicuta is an herbaceous plant usually found growing in marshy areas or along riverbanks. They can grow up to 2.5m and have stripy purple leaves and produce a very pretty head of small green and white flowers. The roots of the plant are saturated with cicutoxin, which spreads throughout the stem and leaves as it grows. If ingested by humans or animals, the toxin acts on the central nervous system, causing tremors, convulsions, cramps, nausea, vomiting and, in extreme cases, seizures, asphyxia and death.

The Poison Queen (Aconitum)

Species of Aconitum (there are around 350) go under a host of names including Wolf’s Bane, Leopard’s Bane, Devil’s Helmet, Queen of Poisons and Monkshood. Whatever name is used, there’s no denying its reputation as one of the most dangerous flowering plants in the world. It produces a delicate purple/blue bloom, somewhat like the shape of a monk’s cowl – hence its most common nickname. This perennial plant grows up to four feet tall and is found growing wild in high altitudes of the northern hemisphere. Its roots contain a highly potent alkaloid toxin that spreads throughout the entire plant and is toxic if ingested or absorbed through the skin by handling.

A Child-Friendly Cultural Holiday in Historic Siracusa

Our holidays to Sicily allow you to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks and Romans and uncover the remarkable history that would shape much of Europe cultural and political landscape. If you fear that this is unlikely to appeal to the younger members of your tribe, we have the perfect compromise with a visit to the city of Siracusa on the Ionian coast of Sicily – here you can enjoy fascinating ancient ruins and indulge in a luxury lifestyle at our carefully selected properties while your brood enjoys many of the local attractions and facilities.

Borgo Pantano

This family-friendly hotel is just a few miles down the road from the fascinating archaeological sites of Noto and the Greek Theatre. It is also near the beautiful Vendicari coastal nature reserve, which is a great place to take children as they can burn up some energy exploring the area or trying out the various activities available to them, including hiking, snorkelling and birdwatching. You can spend this time chilling out on the beach!

The hotel is also well suited to both little ones and adults. They can tear around the enormous surrounding grounds and enjoy swimming in the impressive figure-of-eight pool, whilst mum and dad can luxuriate in the wellness centre, pool bar and restaurant. It also features satellite TV, Wi-Fi and a free shuttle to the city centre (a 15-minute drive).