Jimsonweed grows to heights of between 1 and 5 feet. Its leaves’ edges are toothed edges and nearly egg shaped with pointed ends. Their length ranges from 2 to 8 inches. Funnel-shaped flowers are 2-1/2 to 4 inches long and open to a trumpetlike bell in white, violet or lavender. The plant’s fruit is a spiny pod measuring roughly 2 inches in diameter. The seedpods grow as they ripen and the seeds mature. Ripe seedpods burst open, scattering the seeds.
The contraction of “Jamestown weed” is the origin of the name Jimsonweed. Soldiers and settlers were poisoned after eating the plant’s leaves in salads. Long ago in India and Russia, robbers would grind up the seeds of Jimsonweed and mix them with water as a way to sedate, induce amnesia or daze people they intended to victimize and rob. Members of the ancient Indian religious order that worshipped Kali, the goddess of destruction, would also grind the seeds and feed them to people before robbing and/ murdering them. In China, Jimsonweed was prescribed for the sedative effects, for foot diseases and used for flatulence.
Most species are low-growing, shrublike or spreading perennials or are prolifically reseeding annuals. D. wrightii is the species that is common to the Western United States. Rank-smelling leaves and large, white flowers that are occasionally tinged with purple characterize this plant. A sprawling perennial, the plants have enormous taproots that may extend deeper than 2 feet into the ground. Its geographic range extends from California to Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and into Texas. D. wrightii is considered a cosmopolitan annual weed that seeds prolifically. D. discolor is a native species found in riverbeds and desert washes in Arizona and southeastern California. It has smaller flowers. D, stramonium is naturalized throughout the United States. D. stramonium is distinguished from D. wrightii because the plants have smaller flowers and a more erect growing habit.
Datura, a night-blooming flower sometimes raised in home gardens, is also known as Jimsonweed or Thornapple (Datura stramonium). Jimsonweed is a contraction of Jamestown and is the name that early settlers and British soldiers gave the plants. Thornapple is an appropriate common name because it aptly describes the round, prickly seedpod that develop after the spent flowers fall off the plant. The prickly seedpods prevent animals from eating the toxic seeds.
All parts of Datura or Jimsonweed are poisonous. Keep places where livestock graze free of the plant. Ridding an area of plants is difficult and time consuming because of the ease with which seeds spread. Some people may experience skin irritation from contact with these plants, so wear protective clothing or gear. Symptoms of Jimsonweed poisoning include blurred vision, confusion, dilated pupils, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, hallucinations and tachycardia. Although it rarely causes death, later signs of toxicity may include coma and seizures. Emergency medical attention is necessary in cases of suspected Jimsonweed poisoning. Poisoning is treated with activated charcoal and gastric lavage. Severe sinus tachycardia is treated with beta-blockers.
This year I had 3 pop up in my flower garden… and one has to be every bit of 2 to 3 feet tall, and covered in pods. Where do they come from, any ideas?
Every year, I deliberately allow this weed to mature in my wildflower garden. The flower is breathtaking, its fragrance is intoxicating (but not hallucinating, lol), and best of all it attracts the biggest, wildest-looking moth you have ever seen. Definitely makes for an enchanting evening.
The Weed of the Month series explores the ecology and history of the common wild plants that most gardeners consider weeds.
Though the trumpet-shaped flowers are stunning, my favorite part of the plant is the devilish-looking seedpod. The size of a Ping-Pong ball and covered in spikes, the seed capsule splits into four parts like a monster’s maw, revealing the dark brown seeds inside. In the winter you might notice its tall, dry stalks bearing the prickly seedpods, which to me look like the scepter for a demon. With all its extraordinary looks and lore, jimson weed is a fascinating plant to contemplate (but maybe not cultivate)!
Weed of the Month: Queen Anne’s Lace ›
Jimson weed (Datura stramonium) is a beautiful, witchy plant that begins blooming in late summer and continues through the first frost. A member of the notorious nightshade family, its more famous cousins include tomato, eggplant, pepper, tobacco, and potato. Most members of this plant family are poisonous, and jimson weed is no exception. All parts of the plant are toxic, most particularly the seeds. Potent amounts of alkaloid compounds are present, which potentially cause convulsions, hallucinations, and even death if ingested. And as climate change increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, studies have found that the toxicity of plants like jimson weed only increases.
How do I dispose of this plant? We got it from a load of loam that we bought locally in Rhode Island.
I noticed that the Moonflower and the Jimson flower look much the same, however, the leaves are different. Are they the same plant or just cousins and is the Moonflower also poisonous? My grandmother, Mother and I have all raised them in our gardens in Oklahoma and in Montana….
Weed of the Month: Porcelain Berry ›
No plant should be wiped from the Earth. They all have purposes, good ones if not misused or over done.
Hello, I just found this beautiful plant in my garden this year and was to excited UNTIL I read your article. How do I dispose of it?
You can also read the documentation to learn about Wordfence's blocking tools, or visit wordfence.com to learn more about Wordfence.
Click here to learn more: Documentation
If you are a WordPress user with administrative privileges on this site, please enter your email address in the box below and click "Send". You will then receive an email that helps you regain access.
Block Technical Data
If you think you have been blocked in error, contact the owner of this site for assistance.
Wordfence is a security plugin installed on over 4 million WordPress sites. The owner of this site is using Wordfence to manage access to their site.
Generated by Wordfence at Tue, 11 Jan 2022 14:43:11 GMT.
Your computer's time: .