Further details of this plant will be available once further research into the spread and effects of the plant has been undertaken.
Jimson Weed, gypsum weed, Loco Weed, Jamestown Weed, Thorn Apple, Angel's Trumpet, and Zombie's Cucumber
A common poisonous weed in the Nightshade Family. It contains tropane alkaloids that are sometimes used as a hallucinogen. The active ingredients are atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics.
Datura stramonium is, on average, 30 to 150 cm tall with erect, forking and purple stems. The leaves are large, 7 to 20 cm long and have irregular teeth similar to those of oak leaves. The flowers are one of the most distinctive characteristics of Datura stramonium: they are trumpet-shaped, white to purple, and 5-12.5 cm long. The flowers open and close at irregular intervals during the evening, earning the plant the nickname Moonflower. The fruit are walnut-sized, egg-shaped, and covered in prickles, they split into four chambers, each with a few kidney-shaped seeds. All parts of the plant emit a foul odor when crushed or bruised.
It would appear that this is by no way a recent invader. Reputedly imported from India and spread throughout the UK, Europe and America in a similar manner to the majority of invasives, this plant is only recently becoming highlighted as an issue.
The effects caused by the plants have been known for many years. Its effect on Livestock is also to be noted as in the absence of other food, livestock will consume Devils Apple and this can be fatal.
As with other alien invasives, the increased development of Brownfield Sites seems to be one of the reasons why this plant is coming to our attention more often. Not truly invasive in the terms of plants such as Knotweed, it is however potentially considerably more dangerous. back to top