This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Philadelphia Public Ledger says: " Mr. and Mrs. Chambers, Mrs. White and Mrs. Allen reside at 2450 North Fourth Street, the latter two being boarders. Mrs. Chambers formerly resided in New England, where a common herb known as ' pick-weed ' is used for food. On removing to this city she found a plant growing wild near her house, which she took for ' pickweed,' and one day last week she prepared some of it for food for the family, all four of those named partaking of it. Shortly afterwards all were taken violently ill, their symptoms being great thirst, partial blindness and deafness, and a sense of strangulation, with occasional delirium.
"A physician who was called in at once decided the cause of these symptoms to be poison, and investigating the supposed pickweed found it to be ' stramonium,' commonly known as Jamestown or 'jimson' weed. The usual antidotes were given and the sufferers were soon pronounced out of danger, although they have not fully recovered from their illness. Stramonium grows abundantly on the lots around this city and is a powerful narcotic".
Can any of our readers tell what is " Pick-weed" in New England? "Pickweed" in some parts of England is a large leaved Chenopodium, and which is eaten as spinach; but we suppose this is not the plant of "New England".