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Author Topic: The infamous Datura Plant.  (Read 4749 times)
Frantz
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« on: July 04, 2008, 12:42:32 PM »

Ok, so I am from Utah. I know that I live a mildly sheltered life to some extent. I have had plenty of outside influences and such, but I guess I am more nieve than I thought.
We just moved to this new area in SLC and there are all the things of moving into a new home. One of which has been entirely unexpected.
The new home that we are in is yet to be landscaped and so the weeds and such are getting pretty big. One weed is starting to get some very big flowers on them, but I noticed that they never open. Well come to find out they are night bloomers, and beautiful at that. Big huge white flowers looks like morning glory. Must not be a weed right?  So I start looking them up on line as I have no knowledge of flowers and what they are. Well turns out they are a flower known as Datura. If you don't know what that is, welcome to the club, but just look it up on google. Holly Cow!!! judging by the massive amount of plants on my lot, I have about $100K worth of Datura on my property.
When I was young, we used to sneak out a drink.... This plant has quite a history..
Anychance this will get into my honey and I could get a buzz  evil
Just thought it was funny,
can you get into trouble for sneaking this into your wifes tea, just for fun.... I think that she would be pretty funny on Acid,,,
F
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reinbeau
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2008, 01:40:44 PM »

The girls love datura, I posted photos of them going to town on the datura blossoms sometime last year.  They will stay in the blossoms long after sundown!  The seeds are eaten to get high, thing is you also get very sick afterwards!
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2008, 12:29:36 AM »

thing is you also get very sick afterwards!

Oh great, now you tell me.   evil
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2008, 04:08:57 PM »

I am surprised to hear that honeybees are on your datura, Reinbeau! I never have any on mine because they don't open up until sundown or very close to it - are you sure it is datura and not moonflower which is more like a morning glory vine and opens before sundown? I would love to see your pics if you are willing to repost? I am currently fascinated by the nighttime activities going on in my own hive.

Re: Datura metel. I love this plant. It always reminds me of the story of Rappacini's Daughter. Anyway, I researched this plant years ago when I had the strange coincidence of having been given some for my garden at the same time that I met a young man who had smoked some. I was a psychiatric screener at the time and he was diagnosed as having a substance induced psychotic break. He had still not "come out of it" when I left that job about a year later. Like most drugs, it can be very dangerous if the user goes into things blindly.

That said, it has historically been used as a shamanic drug and Andrew Weil discusses it in his book The Marriage of the Sun and Moon (before he became a #1 bestseller). Shamans would only use datura in a protected space and in very small amount as part of religious ceremonies. It is a very powerful hallucinogenic. I know it is also made into a tea from the leaves but apparently it's strength is not necessarily reduced even though the form may be somewhat diluted.

Perhaps I don't know enough about the process of nectar to honey yet but my botany reasoning keeps me from seeing how the nectar from a "poisonous" plant is automatically the same? If the issue with Datura, for example, is the leaves and the seeds, why does that make the nectar bad too? I mean, maybe it does, but botanically speaking there are lots of plants that have one portion edible (rhubarb stalks) and one portion poison (rhubarb leaves)? If anyone has the key to this I would appreciate it.

As far as datura goes I would say there is no way honeybees could get enough nectar from them given the amount of time they are actually open when bees are foraging - I doubt you would end up with "datura honey"!

Wait until you see all the insects that DO visit her tho! It is worth staying up to see. 

- Jess
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reinbeau
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2008, 08:46:39 AM »

Jess, they're absolutely daturas, I plant them every year and love them. 

Here's a photo of the planting I had last summer.  It's around 7:15, and if you look closely you'll see bees all over the flowers:



Here's a closeup:



The bees were out way past bedtime! 

I use proper names for plants in my garden, I dislike common names because they can lead to such confusion.  Then again I've been studying horticulture for over 30 years and I am very accustomed to using the botanical names.  I grow Ipomoea alba, the vine known as moonflower, and various daturas (mainly inoxia wrighti and stramonium), also known as moonflowers.  I have no problem with our honey and the daturas, there are so many flowers in my garden for them to visit everything is all thoroughly mixed in the nectar department, no one plant is going to dominate our honey.
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Frantz
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2008, 11:07:04 AM »

Yep, that is what I am growing here. No question. They are all over the place. I have heard that they are great for a toothache. Just rub a leaf on your gums where it hurts and the pain is gone.
F
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Cindi
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2008, 11:36:45 AM »

Oh the Datura!!!  I had such high aspiration this year of planting these, growing them from seed, but me bad....just too many other things to get going and these just didn't get there.

Looking at your pictures Ann, of these gracious plants, I am kicking my butt for just not getting it together, I love the night blooming flowers.  I planted the moonflower seeds last year and tried to grow them, nope....they just never grew any more than about 6 inches....surely I did something wrong.

My night scented stocks on my bedroom patio are in full blooming now, their botanical name is Matthiola Bicornis, and man, their fragrance emitted throughout the night time hours takes ones breath away, I love that.  I am sowing seed today in the spots where these flowers are, so that the flower is continued on, when the older stocks begin to fail and have to be pulled out, continuation of the younger plants is important, so the blooms are there all the summer long.  Beautiful and most wonderful day, lovin' and livin' our great lives.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2008, 03:20:49 PM »

Cindi,
You just let me know how many seeds you want and they are on the way. Just don't boil them and drink the juice by mistake. hehehehe evil I have heard it can have quite an effect.
In all seriousness just let me know and I will be happy to send you the seeds. They must be pretty hardy as these have grown without care or coaxing.
F
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2008, 06:40:41 PM »

Ann-

That is an incredible plant! I am doubly impressed that you are growing 'em that big in ME or MA!! Are you reseeding every year or are they perennial at this point? I had a few get roots deep enough to be perennial here in NJ until about 3 years ago when we had a bad cold snap of the minuses and I had to start over from seed the next year. I am on a new property now and am just beginning to get them back up to speed.

I am also amazed at the bees! You know it is quite a plant when they are staying up past their bedtime to get at it! Thank you for posting the pic.

Since you mention ipomea alba I will ask - what do you think of it? I find that it is a bit thready and not nearly as hearty as regular ipomeas - you? Any tips?

I agree with you completely on common names. Especially since everyone seems to have their own names! I just had an embarrassing conversation with a fellow herb gardener over the plant I always knew as wood betony (stachys officinalis / betonica officinalis) that is now being called lambs when the lambs ear I am familiar with is stachys lanata. Those garden girls can get pretty hepped up if you question those common names! I must admit I am guilty of using the common name when it is easier to remember than the botanical. I think I am getting better tho...


- Jess

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reinbeau
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2008, 10:21:40 PM »

Ann-

That is an incredible plant! I am doubly impressed that you are growing 'em that big in ME or MA!! Are you reseeding every year or are they perennial at this point? I had a few get roots deep enough to be perennial here in NJ until about 3 years ago when we had a bad cold snap of the minuses and I had to start over from seed the next year. I am on a new property now and am just beginning to get them back up to speed.
They're here in MA.  I actually bought plants last year because nothing came back from the roots.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  I've actually got a wrighti coming back from the roots this year, I didn't expect that at all.  They seed themselves around, but they never get as big as that monster from seed, although I do get nice flowers from them.
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I am also amazed at the bees! You know it is quite a plant when they are staying up past their bedtime to get at it! Thank you for posting the pic.
I was just as astonished to see them out so late.  Just couldn't resist them!

Quote
Since you mention ipomea alba I will ask - what do you think of it? I find that it is a bit thready and not nearly as hearty as regular ipomeas - you? Any tips?
If you can figure out how to guarantee bloom please let me know.  I've had them every year (didn't this year) and occasionally they'll bloom.  I usually get good growth, lots of foliage, but few flowers.  They're right next to other Ipomeas (the regular morning glories) that bloom their heads off, so I don't know what the answer is.  Finicky little buggers!

Quote
I agree with you completely on common names. Especially since everyone seems to have their own names! I just had an embarrassing conversation with a fellow herb gardener over the plant I always knew as wood betony (stachys officinalis / betonica officinalis) that is now being called lambs when the lambs ear I am familiar with is stachys lanata. Those garden girls can get pretty hepped up if you question those common names! I must admit I am guilty of using the common name when it is easier to remember than the botanical. I think I am getting better tho...


Ah, a fellow herb grower!  Do you know about The Herb Society of America?  I'm sure here's an active unit near you....I'm in the New England Unit.  Mum and I just went to the annual conference, it was here in Boston.  Nice time!
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2008, 10:54:42 PM »

I have Datura too!
Good thing I'm not young anymore or I'd ingest it!
your friend,
john
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Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2008, 09:44:25 AM »

Frantz, when you are gathering seed, let me know. It will probably be some time before seed set to gather, but that is a gracious offer, and yes, I am in, thank you for thinking of me.

Ann, quite often (and you, as a gardener more than likely are fully aware of what I am going to say), if there is lush foliage on a plant and few flowers, the plant requires nourishment in the way of phosphorus.  You know, the middle number in the three ratio numbers, hee, hee.  I would feed that plant some 15-30-15 or something similar, high phosphorus is good sometimes, sometimes it is not so.  Judgement call for surely.  Plants mostly love a higher phosphorus feeding when they are set in the ground as seedlings and then later when they are trying to produce flowers.  Give it a whirl, or thoughts.....beautiful and most wonderful day in this gorgeous life we live.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2008, 11:44:14 AM »

We have a variety of daturas growing around here - commonly referred to as 'death trumpets', most types of datura can be quite deadly if too much is ingested (and it is rather tricky to make sure that enough is not too much). Not recommended.

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There is a mnemonic device for the physiological effects of datura/atropine intoxication: "blind as a bat, mad as a hatter, red as a beet, hot as hell, dry as a bone, the bowel and bladder lose their tone, and the heart runs alone." Another rhyme describing its effects is, "Can't see, can't spit, can't pee, can't bleep." Regarding Datura, among the Navajo is the folk admonition, 'Eat a little, and go to sleep. Eat some more, and have a dream. Eat some more, and don't wake up.' The actual effects are reported to be: cycloplegia and mydriasis (extreme dilation of the pupil), flushed, warm and dry skin, dry mouth, urinary retention and ileus (slowing or stopping of intestinal movement), rapid heart beat, hypertension or hypotension, and choreoathetosis/jerky movements. In case of overdose the effects are hyperthermia, coma, respiratory arrest, and seizures. The vast majority of atropine-poisoning cases are accompanied by delirium with visual and auditory hallucinations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura_stramonium
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Cindi
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« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2008, 09:53:09 AM »

Eeeks!!!  It still makes me wonder why people have to dabble in anything that is obviously poisonous.  I know they caution about growing Datura around even animals, and children.  Not that dogs or children are going to make a meal of this species of plant, but it is cautioned, the poison plants abound, there are many.  We hear of kids in our PNW that get poisoned every year because they are eating the wrong species of "magic" mushroom, wonder why I am still alive?  I did some pretty crazy things in my young youth too, oh brother.....beautiful and most wonderful day, livin' and lovin' our great lives.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2008, 06:22:52 PM »

  Shoot, Vetch....
now I KNOW whats wrong with me.....My wife must be feeding me Datura grin

your friend,
john
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Vetch
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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2008, 05:18:23 PM »

LOL - stop blaming it on your lady!!  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2008, 11:09:32 AM »

beautiful plants bnut potentially very dangeruos,  medicaly it is a species of datura that gave up some of the early anesthetics but they are no longer in use,  when my sister worked in the e.r. at the local hospital they got somebody in nearly every summer whacked on moonflower and it was always bad! you also see foxglove in many gardens around  that was the originlal source for the heart med digitalis,  we have a lot of interestin, beautiful plants in our gardens that can be deadly if were not careful with them,  it is wise to research anything we bring into our enviroment,  nice pics
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vegetarian???  isnt green stuff for growing meat?
reinbeau
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2008, 06:39:46 PM »

Many plants in our gardens are potentially dangerous, foxgloves for one, monkshood, even tomato plants are poisonous.  Doesn't mean we shouldn't grow them, we should just educated ourselves about them and make sure children are closely watched in our gardens and taught what they should and shouldn't put in their mouths.  Doesn't take away from their beauty, nor will it stop me from growing them. 
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1frozenhillbilly
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2008, 12:18:39 PM »

i agree reinbeu.  and sorry about the underlining everyone was only suposed to under line the first word
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vegetarian???  isnt green stuff for growing meat?
SgtMaj
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2008, 07:58:18 PM »

I wonder if it would have any use in other products, such as soap or lotions... If it's poisonous to eat, it's usuallly good for something else.
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2008, 11:49:33 AM »

I wonder if it would have any use in other products, such as soap or lotions... If it's poisonous to eat, it's usuallly good for something else.

It's good to look at.  I wouldn't use it in skin products as the compounds can get absorbed through the skin. There is a transdermal patch that uses a very small, controlled amount of datura alkaloids (scopalamine) to prevent sea-sickness.  Not a DYI project.
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2008, 11:16:07 PM »

ok i have a question.  once upon a time i was told that datura and jimson weed were the same plant then i was told that moon flower was not the same as jimson weed now i hear that moon flower is the same as datura,  i'm confused, could some of you botanists help an old cow puncher out please
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2008, 10:03:07 AM »

Hillbillly -

The problem is in the "common" names which change from place to place and person to person.

I, too have heard Datura called all three names that you have. I can tell you that I have never heard another plant besides Datura called jimsonweed but I have heard several flowers also called moonflower - including Brugmansia (very like a Datura) and Ipomeas (also called morning glory except this one blooms in the evening - hence the moonflower moniker!) Sorry if the spellings are wrong - I don't have my books with me right now!

I have also heard both Datura and Brugmansia called Angel's Trumpet.

Don't know if that actually clarified or clouded things but that's my 2 cents!

- Jess
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reinbeau
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« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2008, 09:54:54 AM »

Hillbillly -

The problem is in the "common" names which change from place to place and person to person.
You are so correct!  Common names drive me crazy when talking with anyone who only uses common names. 

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I, too have heard Datura called all three names that you have. I can tell you that I have never heard another plant besides Datura called jimsonweed but I have heard several flowers also called moonflower - including Brugmansia (very like a Datura) and Ipomeas (also called morning glory except this one blooms in the evening - hence the moonflower moniker!) Sorry if the spellings are wrong - I don't have my books with me right now!

First off, Datura and Brugmansias are related, but different.  Daturas point 'up' (which is why they are referred to as Devil's Trumpets).  Brugs hang 'down'. 

The 'moonflower' moniker is given to some other plants, too, but Datura and Ipomoeas are the two usually called moonflower. 

Quote
I have also heard both Datura and Brugmansia called Angel's Trumpet.
Or Devil's Trumpet, probably the Brugs are the Angel's.

ok i have a question.  once upon a time i was told that datura and jimson weed were the same plant then i was told that moon flower was not the same as jimson weed now i hear that moon flower is the same as datura,  i'm confused, could some of you botanists help an old cow puncher out please

Don't worry, it all comes out in the wash!  evil

Jimson weed and some Moonflowers are actually Datura.  Vining moonflowers are most likely Ipomoeas, a member of the morning glory family.  Stick to the botanical names and you won't be confused (hopefully).
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« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2008, 04:37:54 PM »

P.S. -

Just got back from a short trip to upstate NY where I picked up a copy of a book called This Noble Harvest by Anne Ophelia Dowden (1979). It calls Datura stramonium "thorn apple" (I had forgotten about that one) and says the following:

"Belladonna, thorn apple, and henbane are such plants - all extremely poisonous, and all belonging to the same family as tomato, potato, and tobacco. Their leaves roots, and seeds contain the narcotic alkaloids atropine and hyoscyamine, which work on the central nervous system....In modern medicine, henbane is an ingredient in the drug that produces 'twilight sleep' in childbirth; and most wartime brain-washing involved hyoscyamine, plus scopalomine (from another plant of the same family*) and morphine or a barbiturate. The scientific name Hysocyamus means "hog-bean" because swine are supposed to eat it safely. It stupefies other animals, and its seeds, with those of thorn apple, were sometimes mixed with the fodder of horses and cows in the hope that placid animals would gain weight more quickly. Thorn apple boiled in hog's grease, was widely used for burns and inflammations, and Parkinson approves it as a drink for 'one that is to have a legge or an arme cut off.' It is often called jimsonweed in the United States because it was first introduced near Jamestown, Virginia. Though this plant came to us from Europe, a similar species is native to South America, where Incas used it as an anesthetic, and a Colombian tribe gave it to wives and slaves before burying them alive with dead warriors."

* the asterisk is mine - I don't know why she doesn't say scopalomine can come from datura, but it can.

Hope you all find this as interesting as I did!
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