Devilishly beautiful datura

Whether you call it devil’s trumpet, jimsonweed, or Datura wrightii, this native perennial is a stunner during long summer evenings and into early mornings.

Big ole moon-faced blossoms unfurl at sunset with a sweetly perfumed fragrance that attracts sphinx moths.

Held up like trumpets on coarse, leafy branches that sprawl across the ground by midsummer, the flowers are siren-like in their beauty — and all parts of the plant are just as deadly if ingested. Native Americans used datura for its hallucinogenic effects, but don’t try this at home, kids. People have died attempting to get high on it.

And yet deer or rabbits have eaten it in my garden, right down to tough, bare stems on at least two occasions this summer. I’ve heard it’s toxic to animals as well as people, but I haven’t seen any animals staggering around. It’s a mystery.

Meanwhile, the long, tubular buds keep unfurling…

…into this.

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

10 Responses

  1. Such a bright white! Gorgeous :)

  2. Ally says:

    I came out in the early morning hours recently to discover a display of Datura flowers the likes of which have never graced my garden. It was pretty amazing. In the pre-dawn hours, the blooms seems to glow ghostly white. Very cool plant!

  3. Shirley says:

    Very pretty, I don’t have it this year.

  4. I love it! Several bloggers have been posting about it lately, and I’ve been thinking about where to plant it…

  5. Pam, do some of your flowers have a purple tint? It kind of looks like it in some of the photos. Mine (which I call angel’s trumpet) do get a purple tint when we have cooler weather. I posted about my monster plants and all the bees they attract last week.

    The blossoms are white, although I do see the lavender tinge you mention — probably due to the early morning light when I took the photos. —Pam

  6. Jeanette says:

    Aren’t they gorgeous! I’m glad your hungry critters left some blooms.

  7. Randy Hyden says:

    Put a couple in 3 weeks ago and they are just rampaging with fast growth and blooms. I can`t explain why I haven`t tried this plant in the past. I love it and enjoy your feature and others I`ve seen lately. Thanks, Pam.

  8. Nell Jean says:

    Those big fat caterpillars of Sphinx Moths will eat them right down to a nub. They come back fast.

    I layer mine with the bigger Purple Swirl Daturas and above that, Brugmansias. The nighttime fragrance is intoxicating.

    I didn’t think about caterpillars. Maybe that’s what’s eaten them. I’ll have to pay closer attention. But you’re right — they do come back fast afterward. —Pam

  9. peter schaar says:

    Mine also performs like a champion. I have never been able to smell the fragrance, though. Is there a time of day or night when it’s present?

    I’m only sniffing in the early evening or early morning, but there’s a noticeable fragrance at both times of day. —Pam

  10. Carlos de la Garza says:

    I have caught possums eating the flowers and leaves often, though I have yet to see moths on them.