I’ve been thinking about last spring, the first spring in this house and remembering the first flowers to bloom in the backyard: winter aconite. That happened in late March (a couple of weeks after my father died), but this year they began in February. This winter has not been very cold or snowy so perhaps that explains why they are so much earlier. Their bright color cheers.
Bright, and bitter. Apparently all parts of the plant are poisonous.
In Greek and Roman mythology, Medea tried to kill Theseus by poisoning him by putting aconite in his wine, in that culture thought to be the saliva of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the Underworld. Hercules dragged Cerberus up from the Underworld, while the dog turned his face away from the light, barking and depositing saliva along the path. The saliva hardened in the soil and produced its lethal poison in the plants that grew from the soil. Because it was formed and grew on hard stones, farmers called it ‘aconite’ (from the Greek akone, meaning ‘whetstone’). from Wikipedia