Park Seed Hardiness Zones
Wayside Gardens monthly
 
   In the American romance novel The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850 the writer refers to it in the as apple-peru. The word Datura comes from Hindi dhatura (thorn apple); record of this name dates back only to 1662.
    The species shown below is also poisonous like all the other members of the Datura genus are. These plants contain the highly toxic alkaloids scopolamine (hyoscine), atropine and hyoscyamine. At suitable doses these substances have beneficial medicinal effects, which were recognized in folk mediciane throughout the world. It has been said that is was used in witchcraft to induce hallucinations.
   Datura is a genus of 12-15 species belonging to the family Solanaceae. Some species formerly included in Datura are now classified in the separate genus Brugmansia; this genus differs in being woody, making shrubs or small trees, and in having pendulous flowers.
Thorn Apple - Datura inoxia
   Datura inoxia Miller (1768.) Vernacular names: angel’s-trumpet, thorn-apple, downy thorn-apple, Indian-apple, or sacred datura. I have loved this plant since I saw it many years ago blooming in the western deserts of Utah. It is typically a shrubby plant that can grow quite big.
    In my garden some specimens can grow over six feet tall. The leaves are covered with soft grey hairs and feel like velvet coloring the plant a grayish color.
    The flowers are large white trumpets which grow upright. The plants flower from early summer to frost;   the large white blooms open in the evening and close when the sun comes up. The fragrance is heavenly but all parts of the plant emit a very foul odor when crushed or bruised.
   The fruit it produces is an egg-shapped sharp, spiny capsule about 3 inch in diameter. When it is ripe it splits open and disperses the seeds to the ground and the coats of animals as they brush against the capsules inturn carring the seeds to another area.
   The black coat of the seeds contains abscisic acid, a compound responsible for inhibiting seed germination. Consequently, seeds may remain dormant for years in the soil and spring forth when the inhibitor becomes leached out and the time is right for them.
Bleeding Hearts - Dicentra spectabilis
Datura inoxia fruit
   Before you run out and plant this pretty trumpet flower check and see if it is illegal in your area. Although it has been planted throughout the world as an ornamental plant in many places it is now considered an invasive species. It is a huge pest in the cotton fields and has a potential seed contaminant. The restictions are mainly in the United States but could be in other areas of the world.
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