Datura stramonium is a poisonous herbaceous flowering annual weed that belongs to the nightshade family of plants. Commonly called jimsonweed or thorn apple, the toxic compound in datura stramonium comes from tropane alkaloids which, when ingested, can cause flushing and heating of the skin, hallucinations, rapid and weak pulse, convulsions and even coma, according to North Carolina State University. The plant is native to Asia and has a foul scent, hence one of its other common names: stinkweed.
Look for datura stramonium in climates where it grows readily and is widely naturalized as a weed from USDA hardiness zones 7 through 11.
Search weed-infested sites where the earth has been torn up at one time, along roadways, abandoned grazing fields, dump sites or in sunny portions of weedy gardens.
Identify the plant by its stems and foliage. Look for short, fat stems and a sprawling leggy growth habit that reaches roughly 5 feet in height or spread. The stems will be mid-tone green, purplish or slightly yellow-green. The ovoid leaves reach 8 inches in length at maturity, alternate on the stem, have large irregular serrations around the margins and produce a foul scent.
Locate datura stramonium by its flowers present from July through October each year. The flowers will be long, in a flaring trumpet form and lavender to white in coloration. Each flower will be on its own stem and will have five pronounced points at the end of the trumpet flare where each petal is fused with the next.
Spot datura by its spiny green fruits that form from summer through fall. They will be roughly 2 inches long and slightly oval in shape and hold dark brown seeds inside.