Angel's trumpet: A dangerous beauty in martial arts novel
Xu Chenlu

Have you ever read a martial arts novel? If you have, then you must be familiar with a famous Chinese writer called Jin Yong (Louis Cha), who is renowned for a series of martial arts novels and essays. In his famous novel "The Return of the Condor Heroes," he wrote about a mysterious toxic flower that left a strong impression on readers. Not an imaginary plant, the flower exists in the real world. It's called angel's trumpet.

The angel's trumpet is native to the Andes Mountains in South America but has become naturalized around the globe for ornamental reasons. It produces large, fragrant flowers with a trumpet shape that hangs on vines, hence the name. Though it is common in gardens now, the IUCN still lists the plant as extinct in the wild, with the seven species of the family all confirmed as under cultivation only.

Many will ask if the flower is truly dangerous because of its poison, in line with what Jin Yong indicated in the novel. All parts of the plant are indeed toxic and poisoning could result from ingestion and just touching.

If you still want to get close to the drooping flowers and their scents or grow them, wear gloves. Angle's trumpet does best in warm climates. With a fair amount of sunlight, its bloom could last the whole summer. It prefers moist and well-drained soil. If you fulfill these requirements, you will soon be able to see the "trumpets" hanging on the vines. However, you are not encouraged to keep the plant if you have children or pets.

Read more: Season of flower

(All images via VCG)

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