Datura stramonium (Jimsonweed)
|Also known as:
|Thorn-apple, Devil's Snare, Devil's Trumpet
|part shade, sun; roadsides, waste areas, gardens
|July - September
|1 to 4 feet
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Stalked flowers are single in the leaf axils, branch tips, and forks of branching stems. Flowers are funnel-shaped, 2 to 4 inches long, up to 2 inches across when fully open, white to purple-tinged, sometimes darker purple in the throat, with 5 petal lobes each with a slender tooth at the tip. Inside the tube are 5 stamens and a single style that do not extend beyond the floral tube.
The calyx cupping the flower is tubular, cylindric to narrowly egg-shaped, to 2+ inches long with 5 sharply pointed lobes at the tip. Flower stalks are erect to ascending and up to ½ inch long. All parts are hairless or nearly so. Flowers open in the evening and wither by noon.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, egg-shaped to oblong-elliptic in outline, 3 to 7 inches long, 1½ to 5½ inches wide, on stalks up to 2 inches long. The edges are often somewhat wavy and have large, coarse teeth or a few shallow, pointed lobes. Stems are erect to ascending, round to weakly angled in cross-section, green to purple, and many branched creating a bushy appearance. Leaves, stalks and stems are hairless or nearly so, though may have short hairs when young.
Fruit is a round to oval capsule 1 to 1¾ inches long, covered in numerous prickles, maturing from green to light yellowish-brown and splitting into 4 equal parts at maturity. Fruits are held erect on straight stalks, the remains of the calyx surrounding the base like a short skirt.
Jimsonweed has only been recorded 6 times in Minnesota, all but one of those were in the late 1800s. Its origin is up for debate, possibly Asia or tropical America, but likely Mexico, and it is not very hardy here. We grew it from purchased seed but it did not persist after the first year even though it produced abundant seed. The entire plant is toxic but it has still been cultivated as a medicinal as well as an ornamental plant. The flowers are much like other Datura species, though half or less the size of the other species recorded in Minnesota: Sacred Thorn-apple (Datura wrightii); D. stramonium also has fruit on erect stalks where D. wrightii fruit is nodding.
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Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in his garden.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?