Bella Donna and my tomato plants....
by Heather Youngblood
(North Branch, MI)
I purchased my tomatoes plants from a nursery this year. When I went to plant them I noticed one of the plants in the package of four ...was different.
I planted it to the side to see what it was. About 3 weeks later it had green berries and white flowers.
My neighbor, who works for the nursery I purchased them from... came over and told me it was Bella Donna. I freaked out because I have a three year old who freely picks out of the garden what she wants to eat.
I took it out immediately and went online to make sure that was what it was...confirmed!!!
My question is this...it was planted in a package of four..with my tomatoes. Could this have tainted my tomato plants?? I read that the roots of the plant are the most toxic could this some how poisoned my other plants?? I am worried that the tomatoes will have traces of this poison?? I am concerned about eating the tomatoes.
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Hi Heather, I think your fears about the roots of the Bella Donna somehow contaminating the tomatoes is groundless. By the time the tomatoes are ripened, there would be absolutely no chance of even a tiny bit of whatever chemical is released by the Bella Donna being present, even if this was possible. It's a good thing to be aware of the chance of poisoning, but in this case, as you've got rid of the offending plant you won't have any issue.
Did you know that Bella Donna and Tomatoes are related? They both belong to the Solanum family, which also includes peppers.
The Bella Donna is only poisonous if ingested by eating parts of the plant, such as the berries, which as you may know are very bright and colourful. It's easy to see why they would be appealing to youngsters; it's a good thing to teach even very young children to always show you berries or fruit that they find before eating it (if only to wash it if it's an edible type of fruit).
Enjoy your tomatoes without fears of poisonous contamination,