BC: Toxic Plants Mislabeled

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Nando Times

ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia (April 29, 2001 11:29 p.m. EDT) - A British Columbia-based nursery is trying to locate people who bought poisonous plants incorrectly labeled as "tasty in soup."

Valleybrook Gardens, which distributed the plants, has worked with government officials to locate the buyers of 17 improperly labeled perennials sold at stores in Lynnwood, Wash., British Columbia and Ontario from April 18 to 25. Only eight of the plants had been accounted for by Sunday.

The label should have read, "All parts of this plant are toxic," but an employee changed it to, "All parts of this plant are tasty in soup," said Michel Benoit, the nursery's general manager.

The employee was making a practical joke and thought it would be caught by a horticulturist, said Benoit.

"This is an absolutely poisonous plant and it's vital we track down every plant that was sold with the incorrect label," Benoit said.

The plants, also known as aconitum arendsii, were packaged in blue plastic pots and sold under the brand name Heritage Premier. They were green and flowerless when sold, but eventually will develop tall, violet-blue petals.

The worker who changed the labels has been suspended, Benoit said.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), April 30, 2001

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