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.