Datura wrightii Regel
Datura inoxia Mill. ssp. quinquecuspida (Torr.) Barcl.
Datura metel L. var. quinquecuspida Torr.
Datura meteloides auct. non Dunal. p.p.
Angel’s Trumpet, Sacred Thorn-apple, Sacred Datura, Western Jimson Weed, Belladonna, Toloache, Jimsonweed, Thorn-apple, Angel Trumpet
Although native to Mexico and the southwestern United States, angel’s trumpet is found through much of North America now.
Identification: Angel’s trumpet grows in bushes 24-48" (60-121 cm) high, with grayish-green stems coated with fine hairs. Leaves are alternate, 6" (15 cm) × 4" (10 cm), with smooth margins. The leaves have the unusual property that they are not symmetric at the base— one side is somewhat larger than the other. Flowers are 5-9" (12-22 cm) long, trumpet-shaped, and white, cream-colored, or purplish. The fragrant flowers have several segments, with small points at the edges between them. Fruits are prickly, about 1" (2.5 cm) across.
Edibility: Poisonous Datura contains several poisonous alkaloids that can cause temporary blindness, respiratory depression, seizures, high fevers, and hallucinations. It has been used by some North American native cultures for religious purposes, and more recently, by some as a recreational hallucinogenic. But the effective dosage is dangerously close to the fatal dosage, and panic following temporary blindness causes many injuries as well. See the description of the closely related species D. stramonium for more information.
These varieties of Datura have similar ranges and psychoactive effects, and they are often confused:
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|Plant||This non-woody bush grows to 3-5' (91-152 cm) in height, with stiff, hollow stems that are green or purple. Plant is malodorous.||Angel’s trumpet grows in bushes 24-48" (60-121 cm) high, with grayish-green stems coated with fine hairs.|
|Flowers||Flowers are smaller, 2½-5" (6.3-12 cm) × 1-2" (2.5-5 cm), trumpet-shaped, fragrant, white, cream-colored, purple, or white with a purple center. They usually open only partially, unfurling to produce a spiral, pinwheel-like effect.||Large, 5-9" (12-22 cm) long, fragrant, trumpet-shaped, and white, cream-colored, or purplish. They have several segments, with small points at the edges between them.|
|Leaves||Toothed, wrinkly leaves are 3-8" (7.6-20 cm) × 1-6" (2.5-15 cm), mostly hairless.||Alternate, 6" (15 cm) × 4" (10 cm), with smooth margins and sometimes slightly wavy edges. The leaves have the unusual property that they are not symmetric at the base— one side is somewhat larger than the other. Leaf undersides have fine hairs.|
|Fruit||Densely thorny egg-shaped capsule 1" (2.5 cm) in diameter, consisting of four segments, and containing many dark brown or black seeds.||Prickly, about 1" (2.5 cm) across.|
|Habitats||Coastal sage scrub, valley grasslands, joshua tree woods, pinyon-juniper woods|
Rätsch, Cristian, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and its Applications, Park Street Press, 1998, p. 214
Datura wrightii on Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah
Datura wrightii on Wikipedia
Datura wrightii at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert
Datura wrightii at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Datura wrightii at George and Audrey DeLange's Arizona wildflower site
Datura wrightii at Illinois Wildflowers
Datura wrightii on Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness
Datura wrightii on CalPhotos
Datura wrightii on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network
Datura wrightii description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 2 Jan 2019.