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Datura metel



Datura metel

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

Datura metel, commonly known as Devil's trumpet, metel, downy thorn-apple and, along with datura stramonium, zombie cucumber is a shrub-like annual herb with large flowers, typically white or yellow. Native to China, India and South East Asia, it is now used in landscaping and gardening in North America.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Medicinal use

D. metel is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Chinese herbology, where it is called yáng jīn huā (洋金花). The leaves or juice of it if consumed make the person dumb (unable to speak). The dry flower particularly the voilent coloured, if rolled and used like cigar, will help to releive the asthma or wheezing like symtoms.

Toxicity

This plant may be toxic if ingested in any quantity, symptomatically expressed as flushed skin, headaches, hallucinations, and possibly convulsions or even a coma. The principal toxic elements are tropane alkaloids. Accidentally (or intentionally) ingesting even a single leaf could lead to severe side effects.

Black daturas

A cultivar of Datura metel with a polished-looking ebony-black stem exists as a garden plant. It usually has purple flowers with more than a single layer of petals. The fruit lacks the infamous thorns. Therefore, the cultivar does not look like a datura at all, at least at first sight. It is quite a large datura and could be mistaken for a young tree of an unknown species. Nevertheless, the plant is still a datura and is already reported to have been naturalised in Israel (see illustration). It is not unlikely that the black cultivar will become a common roadside dweller, like its white-flowered ancestor.

 

References

  • Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Datura_metel". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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