A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 59 – Datura

moonflower

“Sacred Datura” – Summer 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Datura wrightii… Better known as “Sacred Datura” or “Moonflower” is a highly poisonous perennial plant native to southwestern North America… It grows like a bush… Mine grow to 6′ tall… The stems are thick and the leaves have a blueish tint to them…

The plants common name “Moonflower” is a product of the fact that it is a night bloomer… The blossoms open right after nightfall and remain open until shortly after sunrise… Because of this the plant is pollinated by nocturnal moths in its native range… Though here in Pittsburgh the flowers last long enough into the morning to be pollinated by the morning bees…

Disclaimer – Datura is extremely poisonous… Although it will get you high… It will also kill you… I do not recommend consumption in any form…

The plants other common name “Sacred Datura” is a product of the plants hallucinogenic qualities… Datura contains the chemical Scopalamine… And although it will give you auditory and visual hallucinations… The actual levels vary from plant to plant… And even within different parts of a single plant… Coupled with the very low onset time of the effects… And the rather low dose required to be lethal… This plant is far more dangerous than it is fun… Just to put this in perspective… Around 20 teenagers a year are treated in Florida hospitals for Datura poisoning…

This plant was originally given to me by a good friend… I was handed a cardboard box of bare-root seedlings that had just been pulled from their garden… I planted a few in my own garden… Planted a few in front of the abandoned houses on the street… I even planted some in front of Nana’s house down the street…

Datura is a voracious self-seeder… Spiky (chestnut-like) seed pods begin to appear towards the end of summer… These pods grow to be around the size of a tangerine… Eventually they will begin to split… Then they explode… This explosion sends seeds far and wide… This is great as far as my abandoned house gardens are concerned… And as far as I am concerned I would rather look at Datura than mow grass… But as far as the ornamental garden is concerned… Well lets just say exploding seed pods is a less than desirable quality…

Dealing with the exploding seed issue is actually quite simple… I harvest my seed pods before they have a chance to explode… If I forget one and it starts to pop… I will place a paper bag over it before I pull it off the plant… This catches the seeds… I personally store the seed pods in paper bags over the winter… They will all pop after they dry out… Come spring all I have to do is separate the seeds from the pods which can be done by hand… The seeds can then be broadcasted wherever you desire…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura_wrightii

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

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One thought on “A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 59 – Datura

  1. We used to have a moonflower creeper when we lived in Perth, Western Australia, had no idea it was a member of the datura family. We eventually pulled it out because it was rampant we thought we might wake up one morning and find it had crept under the bedroom window!

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