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Datura inoxia

Datura innoxia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species: D. innoxia
Binomial name
Datura innoxia

Datura innoxia (angel's-trumpet, thorn-apple, downy thorn-apple, Indian-apple, moonflower, sacred datura, toloatzin, or toloache) is a species in the family Solanaceae. It is native to the Americas, and introduced in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. The scientific name is often cited as D. innoxia.

  It is an annual shrubby plant that typically reaches a height of 0.6 to 1.5 metres. Its stems and leaves are covered with short and soft grayish hairs, giving the whole plant a grayish appearance. It has elliptic entire-edged leaves with pinnate venation. All parts of the plant emit a foul odor when crushed or bruised, although most people find the fragrance of the flowers to be quite pleasant when they bloom at night.

The flowers are white, trumpet-shaped, 12–19 cm long. They first grow upright, and later incline downward. It flowers from early summer until late fall.

The fruit is an egg-shaped spiny capsule, about 5 cm in diameter. It splits open when ripe, dispersing the seeds. Another means of dispersal is by the fruit spines getting caught in the fur of animals, who then carry the fruit far from the mother plant. The seeds have hibernation capabilities, and can last for years in the soil. The seeds, as well as the entirety of this plant, are also hallucinogenic, but have a high probability of overdose.

Cultivation and Uses

Datura innoxia, like other Datura species, contains the highly toxic alkaloids atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine. According to Hernámdez, the Aztecs called the plant toloatzin, and used it long before the Spanish conquest of Mexico for many therapeutic purposes, such as poultices for wounds where it acts as an anodyne. Although the Aztecs warned against madness and "various and vain imaginings", many native Americans have used the plant as an entheogen for hallucinations and rites of passage. Datura inoxia is quite similar to Datura metel, to the point of being confused with it in early scientific literature. D. metel is a closely related Old World plant for which similar effects were described by Avicenna in eleventh century Persia. The alkaloids of these plants are very similar to those of mandrake, deadly nightshade, and henbane, which are also highly poisonous plants used cautiously for effective pain relief in antiquity.[1]

It has also been planted throughout the world as an ornamental plant for its attractive large leaves, large white flowers, and distinctive thorny fruit. However, the plant is now considered an invasive species in several locations. For example, because of the similarity of its life cycle to that of cotton, it is a pest in cotton fields. It is also a potential seed contaminant.

The closely related Datura stramonium differs in having smaller flowers and tooth-edged leaves, and Datura wrightii in having wider, 5-toothed (instead of 10-toothed) flowers.

References and external links

  1. ^ Richard Evans Schultes (1970-01-01). The plant kingdom and hallucinogens (part III). Retrieved on 2007-05-23.
  • A. Alon, ed. in chief, Plants and Animals of the Land of Israel, Vol. 11: Flowering Plants B., p. 92; ed. M. Raviv and D. Heler; Ministry of Defence Publications and the Society for Protection of Nature (in Hebrew), 1983.
  • Germplasm Resources Information Network: Datura innoxia Mill.
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Datura innoxia Miller
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Datura_inoxia". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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