Datura stramonium


Botanical description: Native to North America, this plant from the nightshade family favors fertile soils in warm, moist climates but can easily grow in dry, sandy places along the edge of beaches and in tree pits. Known as jimsonweed, stinkwort, devil’s trumpet, or locoweed, the plant has been widely used around the world for its hallucinogenic properties. Datura stramonium is a highly toxic, foul smelling herb that in one season can grow from a seed into a well-branched plant, nearly four feet tall. Its stems are a deep purple and its leaves resemble oak leaves in that they are deeply lobed. Fruits of the jimsonweed are hard egg shaped pods covered in spikes. Large, pale purple trumpet flowers are produced in the height of summer, and will continue to bloom through the first frost. All parts of the plant contain alkaloids that cause hallucinations in those ingesting them, and can easily result in overdose. In an 1676 account of this effect, British Soldiers sent to Jamestown, Virginia to suppress a rebellion were unknowingly given Datura with their dinner, rendering them useless in their official capacity. It has been used to treat asthma in India, and has long been a component of spiritual and sacred rituals of many cultures for the intense visions it produces.