Datura Definition


Datura (Datura stramonium and other species) is an annual plant that is considered undesirable by some home gardeners. This plant is widespread throughout the southern United States, according to the University of Florida. Often called jimsonweed or angel's trumpet, the plant has a foul smell, although the flowers, which open for one day only, have a pleasant fragrance. It is sometimes cultivated by home gardeners who want a hardy, exotic-looking ornamental, or those who want a plant that blooms at night.


Datura is a commonly-found weed growing in pastures, abandoned areas and waste areas. The plant, which is thought to be native to Asia, has been found growing on every continent save Antarctica and the Arctic, according to Floridata.


Jimsonweed can grow up to 4 feet tall, with an equally wide spread. The leaves are toothed, dark green and ovate. They are arranged opposite each other along the stem. The flowers are long--up to 8 inches--and trumpet shaped. Most are creamy white, although they can also be a pale lavender color, according to Floridata. The fruit is green, egg-shaped and 2 inches long. The shell of the fruit is covered with tiny spines.


Datura grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, according to Floridata. The plant grows equally well in full sun or partially shaded conditions. It thrives in many different types of soils and needs only average soil moisture. Established plants usually do not require supplemental watering save in periods of extended drought. Datura will easily reseed itself each year if it is allowed to go to seed.


This hardy plant, which attracts bees, butterflies and other insects, can suffer from minor insect pests such as spider mites, according to Colorado State University. It also is a favorite food of slugs. Knock insect pests off the plant with a strong stream of water, and protect cultivated plants from slugs and snails by surrounding them with bait. If you want to get rid of this plant, try using a broadleaf herbicide. Apply it according to the directions on the package.


All parts of Datura stramonium are toxic, according to Colorado State University. The University's website recommends that these plants not be grown in home gardens that are frequented by children. Livestock that consume these plants may be killed.

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About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.