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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

20 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.

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    Really savored Be Forewarned About the Datura Inoxia (Devil’s Trumpet) Flower. You must mark off your posting remarks. This info has actually been useful for most of the visitors but some seem wide of the mark. This opinion is definitely one I would like to view more of.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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  13. 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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  15. 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.

  16. 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 !

  17. Trea graham

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

  18. 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.

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