The Word of the Day comes from the excellent NORMA by Sofi Oksanan. Now this one is really interesting and I had never heard of it before.
BORRACHERO TREE - The Drunken Tree.
The borrachero tree, which is marked by beautiful white and yellow blossoms that droop ever so innocuously from the plant’s slender branches, holds a secret that few people outside northern South America know about. The tree’s seeds, flowers, and pollen possess hallucinogenic chemical substances that, when inhaled or consumed, are capable of eliminating a person’s free will, and turning him or her into a mindless zombie that can be fully controlled without any inhibitions. A hazardous drug that eliminates free will and can wipe the memory of its victims is currently being dealt on the streets of Colombia. The drug is called scopolamine, but is colloquially known as ‘The Devil’s Breath,’ and is derived from a particular type of tree common to South America. Stories surrounding the drug are the stuff of urban legends, with some telling horror stories of how people were raped, forced to empty their bank accounts, and even coerced into giving up an organ.
I was wondering why this tree sounded so familiar and then I suddenly remembered the wonderful book I read at the beginning of the year. THE FRUIT OF THE DRUNKEN TREE by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. A terrific read, and one I heartily recommend.
What an amazing and deadly tree. Now featured in two books I have read this year.