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Sep 03

Be Forewarned About the Datura Inoxia (Devil’s Trumpet) Flower

Datura Inoxia (Devil's Trumpet)

Last year I received a white trumpet flower plant from a friend and I liked it right from the beginning. I mean you have large white blooms and nice foliage. It is what my little flower garden needed: some green with a Pop of white. What’s not to like, right? Then as I always do, I did some research on the internet, and I found out some interesting information about the Datura Inoxia (Devil’s Trumpet) plant that I now possess.  This plant has a dark side.

The most obvious item is the ominous Devil’s Trumpet name. Many have heard of the Angel’s Trumpet flower, in which the blooms droop down. Well, my friends, the Devil’s Trumpet blooms upward as in a trumpet from not heaven but hell. Devil’s trumpet is grown in all but the coldest climates as a flowering ornamental. There are white, purple, and yellow varieties with large, single and double blossoms available. Devil’s trumpet grows naturally in disturbed areas such as eroded sites, old fields, vacant lots, overgrazed pastures and rangeland, roadsides and abandoned roadbeds, and fencerows. Apparently, disturbance and reduced competition are required for the plant to become established and grow. A wide variety of well-drained soils on both igneous and sedimentary parent materials are suitable.

 

The Datura Inoxia (Devil’s Trumpet) Dark Past, Present and Future: Use With Caution

From ancient times continuing to the present, the taking of Datura tissues, particularly the seeds, was used in shamanistic rituals as a path to enlightenment. Today, people frequently experiment with it for the hallucinogenic effect, but the results are so unpleasant (dark visions, disorientation, amnesia, blurred vision, dry mouth, and incontinence) that they seldom recommend the experience. Overdoses can result in death. The plant has been used to treat impotence, asthma, diarrhea, as an analgesic, to control fever, kill parasites, and as a drug for criminal purposes. Devil’s trumpet contains a host of phytoactive chemicals including atropine, hyoscyamine, hyoscine, scopolamine, norscopolamine, meteloidine, hydroxy-6- hyoscyamine, tiglic esters of dihydroxytropine, and a number of withanolides. It causes erratic behavior and even death of livestock that have eaten it, but it is seldom a problem for pastured animals because they carefully avoid consuming it.

Hummingbirds sometime visit the flowers, but are affected by the alkaloids in the nectar and must limit their consumption. Honeybees are apparently unaffected. The flowers have an intense night fragrance, which perhaps helps attract night-flying moths.

I like my Devil’s Trumpet flower, but with all that is going on with this plant, I couldn’t recommend it to everyone.  Come to think of it, I guess it has Devil in its name for more reasons than one. You’ve been warned.

Source: John K. Francis, Research Forester,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
International Institute of Tropical Forestry,
Jardín Botánico Sur, 1201 Calle Ceiba, San Juan PR 00926-1119,
in cooperation with the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, PR 00936-4984

41 comments

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  1. Maricel

    Blogs are a great way to connect strangers, share experience and provide useful information. You have achieved just that. Thanks for the share.

  2. Audria

    I actually just got these plants from the garden at my office and is about to plant them at home. Your post is good information thank you. Please note that all parts of the Angel Trumpet is also extremely toxic. I should hope that we enjoy the plants for their beauty and not try to experiment with them.

  3. Marie

    I thought the ones that faced upwards were Datura and those that hang down were Brugmansia. I had never heard of Devil’s trumpet before this, but knew Datura is toxic and can even cause skin rash.

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    Awfully educational appreciate it, I think your trusty readers would definitely want way more items of this nature continue the good effort.

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    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me

  8. Candis J Cox

    You didn’t talk about that great sweet, peanut butter, smell! I LOVE it…..and it is so happy, it has taken over my back garden….I DO NOT EAT IT..BUT THEN, I HAVEN’T TRIED TO KILL ANYONE, YET…I am just a bad cook!

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  10. carol

    The Devils Trumpet are beautiful.I have some seeds and plan to plant them,but,after your blog Im nervous,I have golden retrievers and Im worried about my puppy getting at the plant.I plan to plant it out by the road,if she did happen to get into it are the leaves and blossoms going to hurt her.Im now thinking is the danger worth the beauty?

    1. David

      Would you care to share some of your seeds? I would like to grow it in my garden in Toronto.

  11. james

    datura is a very strong hullucigen but can only giv affect from the big brown seed pods that grow on there .. from taking the seeds u can feel the effects.. BUT I REPEAT DO NOT TAKE DATURA U WILL NOT LIKE IT !i know some people that have taken it and these are well season vets to the drug world.. and they will NEVER DO IT AGIAN !

  12. Trea graham

    Nice to know but I love the smell in a cool summer night.

  13. Von Hester

    I had a double purple devil trumpet last year. It was beautiful! I saved the seeds and tried to reproduce them this year but they never got more than 4 or 5 inches and did not bloom. What do you think I did wrong. So dissapointed!

    1. Clay Miller

      I don’t know if you did anything wrong. The white devil’s trumpet that I have comes back every year without me having to do anything. I guess the double purple devil’s trumpet is different. Sorry it didn’t work out for you. Maybe save the seeds and try again next year.

  14. Misspuggles

    I had planted the seeds 2years ago the just came up this year,

  15. Layla

    What about the spiny green fruit that grows from it? I have many in my backyard and have tried many times to get rid of it and kill it. It never works. They are beautiful though.

  16. ellie

    I have Datura Metel which is the double purple trumpet flowers, it has beautiful dark stems & the underside of the leaves are dark, the seed pods are unusual & look nothing like Datura Stamonium, Ferox or Inoxia. The alkaloids in these plants having amazing uses in botanical medicine, in fact years ago it was used as an asthma drug. Many studies are being done with this amazing plant to use it as a cancer treatment, it has also been used as an anti-fungal, vermifuge, anti-inflammtary, topical pain killer to name but a few. It makes me sad that this beautiful and exceptionally useful plant is abused & so misunderstood. I also have many Datura Stramonium and also 16+ Brugmansia, I love my trumpet flowers and could never see them as having a dark side.

  17. Red Crow

    Light, dark… both illusions of a naive mind. Keep growing, you’ll see.

  18. Meg Farrington

    Wow, good to know, I had no idea!

  19. betsy bean

    Help I’m having problem’s with my Devil’s trumpet something is eating the leaves and I’m afraid I’m going to lose them forever! I don’t see any slugs, or snails or any kind of bugs, I started spraying soap water on them, but think it may be to late

  20. Christine Feldpausch

    Around me in Michigan, it is called Moonflower.

  21. Chris Ott

    My datura was being eatin by tomatoe worms.
    I would love some seeds for the purple trumpets if anyone would like to share

    1. Robin Jenkins

      If you are in S.E Michigan i have a beajtiful purple one you can have but you have to come get it.

  22. Groubn

    No sympathy for the Devils Trumpet; keep that in mind. I had done quite a bit of research on psychoactive plants and chemicals. This was one of the plants that I studied and found quite interesting, it had beautiful white flowers and sprouted out of nice green foliage that was similar to potatoe plant. The above picture is exactly what is found all over southern California and later I discovered it in my home state of Wisconsin. Long story short I eventually made a tea of the plant and consumed it with my girlfriend and went out for a night of fun in San Diego. the experience was heavy hallucinations that came and went, confusion, disorientation, dry mouth, and blurred vision that lasted for two days. The hallucinations where quite different from lsd, masculine and psilocybin. At one point I was reading a book and my vision was so blurred that I couldn’t make out the word any more. The book was so great that I couldn’t put it down but I could make out the words so I was fighting with all my remaining strength to continue reading. My sister yelled back at me (she was driving I was in the back seat) something in German maybe. I suddenly became aware I wasn’t holding a book I was clenching onto the handle of the door and the bottle of tea that I had made and the words I was reading scattered into nothing. We went to some type of show at a coffee house and to this day I still can not eat tofu dogs or listen to Jack Johnson. The experience was completely awful the hallucinations were very realistic and some quite disturbing. My vision was broadcast to my brain in soft focus for the next two days and bits of hallucinations came into vivid memory for the next several days. The short list of visions peeing blood, bleeding eyes, people with blood in their mouth and totally black eyes, deranged and disfigured faces returning to normal at second glance. The overwhelming feeling of impending doom as well as complete nihilism. This would be my drug of choice if I was looking to torture and extract information from someone maybe in combination with lsd and opiate withdrawal. On a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being bad I would rate it at -10 for being absolutely awful. my girlfriend had a very similar experience with only slight differences in visions. The experience was not without purpose, it was a trip and with every journey there are lessons learned. It was a journey we would absolutely never buy a ticket for again. I can not see any legitimate recreational or medical purpose for this plant it does look really pretty though.

    1. Patricia Hamilton

      This plant is to be respected and was not intended for recreational purposes..Even though it has medicinal value I wouldn’t use it myself. Angels Trumpets and Devils Trumpet’s are related and in the same family-night shades.You danced with the devil and survived.You’re a lucky man.

    2. Tina

      No sympathy for the Devil’s Trumpet? I’ve no sympathy for you! The plant didn’t make the tea or force you to drink it. What on earth made you think that was a good idea?

  23. Susan Smith

    When i lived in Florida I had a very beautiful yellow Angel Trumpet tree. I had no idea of the dark side of this plant. When I returned to Nova Scotia i bought a white Devil’s Trumpet at a roadside stand. That year the plant was banned by the NS Government as being too dangerous to children and animals. If you were caught growing the plant you were subjected tomleavS a heavy fine.

  24. Robert

    Both plants use to use the name Datura, but the scientists thought to divide the plants with upright flowers from the ones where the flowers hung down. The ones with the flower hanging down(Angel Trumpets) are now called Brugmansia, the Devil ones are still Datura, and I believe they both belong to the Nightshade family of plants. I know of a couple of kids in South Florida died because they were looking to trip, was in the local paper.

  25. Jobe

    I love my Datura plants. Just put them where your pets won’t eat them and you will be fine. My plants drop their pods and next year I always have new ones. I love the moths it brings, bees rarely work at night and this flower opens in nearly 5 minutes at dusk and is usually hanging and closed by late morning…. in NC.
    There is nothing to fear with Datura, don’t eat it. The seeds are very bitter anyway. I promise that if you have a bunch of other plants that you have others that you should probably not eat as well but if you don’t want your seeds, short me a message and send them to me as I moved and forgot to grab a pod in the chaos

    1. Carina Daddario

      Hi, I don’t know if you still want Datura seeds, but I still have an enormous amount from last season and I anticipate quite a few this year.
      I did not know anything about this plant until a neighbor gave me some seeds because I commented on their beautty how my “Moonflower” seeds never sowed for me….I had no knowledge of the history of this plant or the psychodelic properties…
      But what I did find…to me and my then8 year old youngest son was their popularity with hummingbird moths! I never knew there was such a creature…but they are a sight to behold..’

  26. Florian Wolf

    We have Datura innoxia – similar to our Brugmansias – in a completely fenced-off area of the garden, so that our dogs are reasonably safe. However, there are so many garden plants to a degree toxic to dog and man (eg oleander…) that we have decided to also train the gang to not eat plants, and so far it works well. While I generally avoid the highly toxic plants the species & hybrids of Datura and Brugmansia are to pretty to leave then out. I try to avoid their ubcontrolled self- seeding, though, as they would spread like rascals through the garden.

  27. Patricia Hamilton

    You failed to say that Datura -Devils Trumpets and Brugmansia -Angel’s Trumpets are related and the latter is a tree .

  28. chris

    This plant has potential to potentiate the potency of other ingredients you mix it with…… Cayenne which is related helps to do just that. Use it in small quants 5to10% or less… to actibate the ingredients you mix it with turmeric and goldlenseal work well use it to cure any illness until your bones run out!!!

  29. Admirer of plants

    I have 4 dogs and they stay away from the plant,
    I also don’t let the seed pods drop, I cut them off and sell them to people who admire my plants.
    As a bush they are beautiful.

  30. Ted Griffin

    My white flower comes out in the morning and is dead by evening. What have I done wrong? Do you get a rash by touchingthe plant? Thanks

  31. OutdoorLady

    Realize this is an old post, but for future readers of the comments, I wanted to share my negative experience: A gardening enthusiast acquaintance “gifted” me with a seed pod last week and broke it open in the palm of my hand before we transferred it to a baggie. Being unaware of any danger, I deduced from the delayed reaction, shape and location of the ***chemical burn*** on my face, that I must have propped my head in the cup of the hand that the seeds were in before I had a chance to wash my hands. My friend handles the plant extensively (without gloves) and no reaction… me, a hyper-reaction! We are now duly educated.

  32. Nancy Banks

    It’s called a moon flower here in Kentucky, I have a bunch but idk the seeds were so potent

  33. Linda

    I have a devils trumpet in my garden, don’t know how it got there, but it is beautiful and I am going t try and transplant it in another location, right now it is next to my rhodedemrons. I will look for the seed pods though and will use gloves. thank you for all the info on this plant. I am near Belleville, Ontario, so I guess the cold winters do not effect it.

  34. Sheila Fritzinger

    This plant put me in the hospital on 6/5/17 with 4 staples in my head. I did not know it was poisonous. I thought this flower was beautiful so I dug out the plant. split it up and transplant them. I was tired took a nap for 3 hrs. twice I don’t take naps. It took 2 days to get in system. I took my dog for his walk the next morning within 10 minute I passed out. My dog took me home and woke my husband. My husband heard me crying, I was full of blood. I had a hole in the back of my head. Didn’t know were I lived or were my family was. My husband said I was disorient, amnesia my vision was blurred two days ago. Not after my head hit the road. My heart rate dropped in the low 30’s.They wanted to put a pacemaker in me, because it kept fluctuating. Ran a lot of test everything came back normal. I was admitted , then they release me. Thanks to, two little girls who told my neighbor about the poisonous flowers that’s how, I found out what happen to me. I was going bonkers not knowing what happen.

    1. outdoorlady

      Thank goodness for your wonderful dog! Curious if you had someone else remove the plants after you became aware of the toxicity. The chemical burn was enough warning for me; I tossed the baggie with the seeds/pod. I truly believe some of us are hypersensitive where others aren’t. I personally won’t go near one again with a 10 foot pole. Sorry to hear of your unfortunate encounter with it.

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