Scientific name: Datura stramonium
Common Name: Moonflower, Jimson Weed, Angel’s Trumpet
Article by Susan Bruneni
Datura stramonium is believed to have originated in the American Southwest, Mexico and South America, but other evidence suggests an Asian origin. The plant has been used medicinally throughout the world since ancient times. Zuni legends refer to Datura. It has been widely used in Chinese and Hindu medicinal practices as well.
Daturas range from bushy shrubs to trees. Deciduous leaves are pale green ranging up to 12 inches long, depending on the species. Flowers are fragrant, trumpet-shaped and range from white to pale yellow and pale orange. The flowering period is summer through fall, followed by production of thorny fruits (hence the common name Thornapple).
Seeds were sent from Chile to British horticultural writer Philip Miller in 1733. Most of the shipment had been destroyed by insects, but Miller managed to produce two plants with six-inch trumpet blooms. Those plants were Datura arborea, now re-classified into a closely related genus, Brugmansia arborea.