How did the Belladonna get its name and Where does the word Belladonna come from?

Belladonna means “Beautiful lady,” but why this name for the deadly nightshade? Two highly contradictory accounts have been given.

The English naturalist John Ray (1627-1705) said that a cosmetic made from the juice of this plant was used by, especially, Venetian ladies to enhance their beauty. This is probably the true origin of the name.

But a botanist of the mid-nineteenth century asserts that its name arose from the use of the deadly juice by an Italian criminal, one Leucota, who poisoned beautiful women with it.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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