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It's not the thorns you have to worry about. It's the poison they inject you with. In its natural form, death would be slower and far more painful.

Hook to David Nolan src

Dreamshade, also known as Somnumbra Atra,[1] is a magical plant featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the fifteenth episode of the second season.

Dreamshade is an allusion to the poison carried about by Captain Hook in the Peter Pan story.


Dreamshade is a deadly poison that grows up in spring of Neverland. Mr. Gold describes it as "incurable poison" and says that there is no andidote in this world. ("The Queen Is Dead")

A concentrated dose of dreamshade is so deadly that it can kill a Dark One within a couple of hours in the Land Without Magic. But even if the injured Dark One returns to a place with magic, the poison will still be intact and kill the person unless they find a way to cheat death, like with the help of the enchanted candle. ("The Queen Is Dead", "The Miller's Daughter", "Lost Girl")

However, in its neutral form, the poison is slower and far more painful, and the person will die as soon as the poison reaches their heart. The sring of Neverland has the power to cure it, but if the person drinks from it and leaves the island, they will die again as soon as the waters' effects are gone. However, Mr. Gold later finds a permanent cure that can end its deadly effects. ("Lost Girl", "Good Form", "The New Neverland")


Before First Curse

Before the casting of the Dark Curse, Captain Liam and his brother, Lieutenant Killian Jones, are sent by their king to procure a wondrous herb called Dreamshade from the thorns of a plant on the island of Neverland. However, according to the island's only resident, Pan, it is extremely poisonous. Liam brushes off the boy's comments as nonsense while Killian begins to have doubts. To put his brother's worries to ease, Liam purposely cuts himself with a branch of Dreamshade and quickly passes out from the spreading poison. Killian begs Pan for help, and the boy allows him access to the island's remedial spring, but warns that after taking the water, they should not leave the island unless willing to pay the price. Liam is healed to full health by the spring water and the two brothers sail out of Neverland intending to expose the true vicious nature of their king, but Liam dies as a result of leaving the island. Soon after, Killian, forever changed by his brother's death, leads the ship's crew as not soldiers, but pirates. ("Good Form")

When Killian, now known as Captain Hook, returns to Neverland after losing the woman he loved, Milah, due to being killed by her former husband, Rumplestiltskin. Seeking vengeance, he procures some Dreamshade and takes it back with him on his journey back to the Enchanted Forest. Once there, Hook attempts to locate a magical dagger, which he intends to use to kill Rumplestiltskin. Instead, he is offered protection by Cora to wait out twenty-eight years after the Evil Queen casts the curse over the Enchanted Forest. Only after the twenty-eight years are up, then he can get even with the Dark One. ("The Crocodile", "Queen of Hearts" , "Going Home")

After First Curse

After the breaking of the Dark Curse, Hook teams up with Cora in finding a pathway to Storybrooke. They both have someone to seek out in Storybrooke, and for Hook, he looks for vengeance against Rumplestiltskin for, many years ago, killing the love of his life, Milah. Once there, his attempts to thwart Rumplestiltskin's new identity, Mr. Gold, are sidetracked when Hook sustains injuries when a stranger's car plows through into town. Later, while Mr. Gold leaves Storybrooke for New York, Hook works together with Cora and Regina to find the whereabouts of the Dark One Dagger. However, when betrayed by them, he steals back his hook from David, sails on an invisible Jolly Roger and tracks Mr. Gold down to a Manhattan apartment complex. Having previously coated his hook with Dreamshade, Hook stabs him in the chest with it, and goes in for the killing blow when he is knocked out by Emma. ("Queen of Hearts", "The Outsider", "In the Name of the Brother", "Manhattan", "The Queen Is Dead")

While Mr. Gold is on the verge of death, he is ushered back to Storybrooke, where he sways Mary Margaret into using an enchanted candle to kill her nemesis, Cora, so he may live. The candle's magic heals Mr. Gold and, at the same time, transfers the poison wound to Cora's chest. As she dies, Mr. Gold is restored to health. ("The Miller's Daughter")

Sometime after this, Mr. Gold seeks out more knowledge about Dreamshade in an attempt to better understand how the poison works, and in the process, dabs in research about creating an elixir for the poison. ("Think Lovely Thoughts")

After Henry, David, Emma, Hook, Mary Margaret, Mr. Gold and Regina travel through a portal to Neverland in search of him. While combing through the jungle, David leads the group by slicing away stray branches in the way of the path. Blocked by a bushful of thorns, he prepares to cut them down, but Hook hastily stops him. Even though David assures him he can handle it, the pirate refuses to relent and explains the poison oozing from the thorns are the real problem. Additionally, Hook points out it's the same substance he used in a concentrated dose in killing Mr. Gold, and in Dreamshade's natural form, it causes inevitable death on an even more excruciating slow level. Emma, approached by Pan, is given a way to reach Henry in a form of a map. However, she must stop denying her true self, and only then will the map open up for her. After several attempts end in failure, Regina casts a locator spell on the map, which leads them straight into the Dark Jungle. At first glance, in the distance, they see Henry standing with his back facing away from them. When Emma calls to him, he reveals himself as Pan dressed in Henry's clothes. As punishment for cheating at his game, Pan sends the Lost Boys into battle against them. Hook warns them to be careful of the Lost Boys' arrows as they are coated with Dreamshade. David is grazed by one of them, but later brushes it off as a minor injury. In truth, the poison is already spreading through his body. ("Lost Girl")

Though Emma is able to unlock the map, Pan keeps moving his camp frequently; making it difficult for them to keep backtracking. As a solution, Hook suggests they seek out the ex-fairy, Tinker Bell. Lagging behind, Regina ends up resting while the others continue on without her. Once alone, Regina, aware she is being watched, calls out a spying Tinker Bell. Hostile and guarded, Tinker Bell knocks Regina out with a whiff of poppy dust and kidnaps her to a cave. Regina awakens with her wrists bound together with rope, but frees herself with magic. However, she underestimates what else Tinker Bell has planned, and soon finds a blade smeared with Dreamshade pressed against her neck. Tinker Bell threatens to poison her, but Regina makes things easier by pulling out her own heart. Placing it in Tinker Bell's hands, Regina asks her to crush it. Instead, Tinker Bell confronts her about their past, and eventually Regina convinces her that it's not to choose hope over vengeance. Pacified, the ex-fairy returns the heart unscathed. ("Quite a Common Fairy")

Hook tricks David into going up onto Dead Man's Peak with the intention of finding the remedial spring water to heal him of his Dreamshade wound. The pirate cautions him on the price of drinking the water, which will make David bound to Neverland forever and unable to leave or risk immediate death. David accepts the water and is healed. Once Mary Margaret finds out the truth from David, she is furious that he lied to her, but they make up and decide to stay together in Neverland. Later, Mr. Gold agrees to make David a Dreamshade cure when they return to Storybrooke. Prior to leaving Neverland for good, David procures more of the remedial water to take for the ride home to ensure he doesn't perish upon leaving the island. As promised, Mr. Gold creates a potion for David, which permanently rids him of Dreamshade's effects. ("Good Form", "Ariel", "Dark Hollow", "Think Lovely Thoughts")


On-Screen Notes

  • The botanical drawing possessed by Liam says:[1]

(478. Somnumbra Atra)
Rosoideae V.I. Rubrus
("Good Form")
  • "Somnumbra" is based on the combining form "somn-", meaning "sleep",[2] and "umbra", meaning "shade, shadow".[3] "Atra" is a botanical Latin word meaning "dull black".[4]
  • Rosoideae is a subfamily of the rosaceae (rose) family. Roman numerals V and I mean 5 and 1. "Rubrus" is a Latin adjective used in botanical nomenclature, meaning "red".[5]
  • Roman numerals XIII means 13.
  • All in all, the text can be transliterated as: "Dreamshade. (478. Sleepshade Black.) Rose 5.1. Red. 13A".

Fairytales and Folklore

  • In the Peter Pan story, Captain Hook always carries about his person a deadly poison in case he is captured alive. It was blended by himself "of all the death-dealing rings that had come into his possession", which he had "boiled down into a yellow liquid quite unknown to science".[6] In the original story, Hook attempts to use the poison on Peter Pan by adding a few drops to the latter's medicine, but his plan is foiled when Tinker Bell swallows the poison so that Peter will not. On the Once Upon a Time episode "The Queen Is Dead", Mr. Gold's wound is filled with mounds of yellow goo,[7] a reference to the color from the original story. Gold also says that bringing him to a hospital is pointless, because the poison is of Hook's own making and there's no antidote in the Land Without Magic as it's not from there; again alluding to the original story.


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. 1.0 1.1 File:305TellUsBoy.png
  2. somni-. TheFreeDictionary. Retrieved on August 8, 2018.
  3. Umbra. Dictionary.com. Retrieved on August 8, 2018.
  4. A Primer of Botanical Latin with Vocabulary by Emma Short and Alex George, Cambridge University Press 2013, p. 26. Facsimile by Google Books.
  5. Smith, Constance Craig (January 18, 2013). Can you speak plant? If not, try teaching yourself with a new book on Latin botanical terms. Daily Mail. “Plants that are ‘albus’ are white, such as Lilium regale ‘Album’. ‘Luteus’ or ‘aureus’ means it’s yellow, ‘rubrus’ is red, and ‘azureus’ or ‘caeruleus’ is blue.”
  6. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie CHAPTER 13: DO YOU BELIEVE IN FAIRIES?. Lit2Go. Retrieved on August 8, 2018. “Lest he should be taken alive, Hook always carried about his person a dreadful drug, blended by himself of all the death-dealing rings that had come into his possession. These he had boiled down into a yellow liquid quite unknown to science, which was probably the most virulent poison in existence.”
  7. File:215ThatsPointless2.png