Hydrangea thieves on the loose — more than just pretty flowers

The hydrangea season is in full bloom, and people seem to be appreciating them for more than just their aesthetic value. A growing number of hydrangea thefts has been reported, as the plants are believed to offer a cheap high.

The Paulides family in Houten experienced such theft firsthand when they had their neatly laid-out front garden ransacked last Saturday at 6.49 AM. How do they know this so precisely? They looked at CCTV footage — well their neighbour’s across the street security camera.

The security camera footage showed the thief — a man on a moped — drive slowly past, stop a short distance away, and then turn back. He then proceeded to dig out two white hydrangeas, put them in a bag, and drive off, reports AD. This drama unfolded in only one and a half minutes. It’s all about stealth, right?

Thefts accross the whole province

Hydrangea thefts have also been reported in Nieuwegein and De Meern in the province of Utrecht. Many owners have been waking up to find nothing but a few holes in their garden — as if nothing was ever there.

Our advice to you? That lock you had on your bike? Use it to chain up your hydrangeas… just kidding! Go out and buy an extra bike lock, but also keep a close eye on your blooms — you aren’t the only person who thinks they’re nice.

A cheap high…

You may be asking what has inspired the sudden wave of hydrangea thefts. A possible explanation is that their dried buds can be smoked, like weed — and that you can get a cheap high from the plant.

This is verified by hydrangea grower Andries van der Woerd. However, he says that there are many different types of hydrangeas and only one of them contains the hallucinogenic substance, so you have to know which one it is.

…but not recommended

Smoking hydrangeas may be cheap, but it will have you regretting your life’s decisions. According to Van der Woerd, they contain hydrocyanic acid which is a very toxic substance.

So, if you do manage to get high, you’ll pay for it by being hunched over with stomach pains for at least three days. Talk about a comedown.

There are also various other side effects associated with smoking hydrangea leaves, like nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The leaves produce cyanide when they are smoked or chewed, which can cause acute cardiac arrest and permanent paralysis. At worst, death. So, we’d say, stick to the coffee shops.

What are your thoughts on these mysterious hydrangea thefts? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: bandd/Depositphotos

Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.


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