The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Evil Shrub: Official Plant of the Devil Queen

I stumbled across this the other night. Who knew the Devil Queen had a plant species named after it?

Here is the plant's basic information from the USDA:

"Phaulothamnus spinescens A. Gray
Common names: Devilqueen, Snake-eyes
Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed Family)
USDA Symbol: PHSP2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

Plant Characteristics
Duration: Perennial

Habit: Shrub Size Class: 6-12 ft. Breeding System: Dioecious Fruit Type: Drupe Fruit Color: White

Bloom Information
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep
USA: TX Native Habitat: Thickets
Growing Conditions
Water Use: Medium Light Requirement: Part Shade Soil Moisture: Moist Soil Description: Sandy Sandy Loam Medium Loam Clay Loam Clay

Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. BenderSearch More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources
USDA: Find
Phaulothamnus spinescens in USDA PlantsFNA: Find Phaulothamnus spinescens in the Flora of North America (if available) Google: Search Google for Phaulothamnus spinescens
Record Modified: 2007-01-01Research By: TWC Staff"

And, here are some pictures of it.

Look at the freaking thorns on that thing. They're huge! And, since it is from the poke weed family, you can bet that it is poisonous. As a thorny, poisonous weed that thrives in a hot, god-forsaken climate, I hereby name Phaulothamnus spinescens A. Gray (aka devilqueen) the official plant of the Devil Queen.

Now all we need is an official song and flag and we'll be well on our way to being a semi-autonomous kingdom of misery and woe. I wonder if we could transplant some of it here at the Devil Queen's homestead? The yard looks so bad that I'm sure one more thorny, invasive weed wouldn’t be noticed.

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Blogger Amalie said...

Ew. Poke. My grandmother makes poke salet and it smells awful. I, on the other hand, once ate a poke berry as a kid and had be taken to the hospital where I was introduced to Ipecac.

It would figure that a thorny, mean bush like that would be poke.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Elvis do a song about Polk Sally (poke salet)?

Same stuff?
For some reason, I figured poke/polk was a ground plant, like a cabbage or something.

-- Janine

12:55 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Tony Joe White did the song first in 1969. Elvis recorded it later. Sallat is collard greens.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Green Fairy said...

That is definitely a wicked-looking plant.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

That's the craziest thing. I just started reading some of the houseblogs again and I hit yours and that is EXACTLY the thing we just cut down in our backyard this past weekend! We had no idea what it was but it had to die.... seriously... had to go... like now.

Glad I know what it is now! I'm doubly glad it's gone!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Tarr said...

If this is the official plant, then are you the drupe?

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


your blog

9:11 AM  
Blogger John said...

Thank you for all the comments everyone.

Amalie, my in-laws make poke salad in the spring. It's not bad but I could see where it's not for everyone.

Janine, I've got a lot of poke weed growing in our yard. I'll take a picture for you. It grows to be about 4-6 feet tall, has a dark purplish stalk, purple red berries, and larger leaves that make me think of tobacco leaves for some reason (no kinship).

Sandy, I think sallat is a generic word of greens of all sorts. Maybe that varies regionally. Mustard and collard greens look similar to cooked poke salad/sallat, but poke is distinctly different. You have to double or triple boil the leaves to get all the poison out before you fry it in bacon drippings with a little bit of scrambled egg.

Tara, yes I am.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Amalie said...

If I'm not mistaken, I think sallet is cooked greens, as opposed to salad being uncooked. At least that's the distinction we always made.

Did you know there's a Poke Sallet Festival somewhere in Kentucky?!?

8:33 AM  
Blogger John said...

Hmm. I never really noticed any distinction with my in-laws though it makes sense. Then again, my in-laws maim the English language in new and inventive ways that you wouldn't imagine. My wife's grandfather cracked us up by pronouncing "virile" as "viral." Sometimes I think they just make words up. I didn't know they had a festival for poke sallet, but some old-timers told us that they used to sell it canned back in the 1950's and 1960's.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Amalie said...

Allen Canning, up in Siloam Springs, canned it until very recently-- I used to work for the Division of Agri. and the spinach expert (yes, the UofA has a spinach expert) brought by a can a few years ago while he was working on a book about canning factories. I just looked it up and it said they canned until 2000. Who knew it was still that popular?!?

And I think we've all got the mispronouncers-- my grandmother used to pronounce Hawaii as "how are ya," thanks to Arthur Godfrey. Maybe the difference between sallet and salad is a North/South thing? Who knows.

10:17 AM  
Blogger John said...

I had no idea they were canning that until 2000. Pretty wild.

And, thanks for the link.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Actually this is a popular medicinal plant in Mexico used for cancer treatment, you can read about it here:

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