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Datura stramonium - L.

Common Name Thorn Apple, Jimsonweed, Jamestown Weed
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards All members of this genus contain narcotics and are very poisonous, even in small doses[200].
Habitats Dry waste ground and amongst rubble or the ruins of old buildings[7, 204].
Range Original habitat is obscure, it is found in many areas of the world, occasionally in S. Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Datura stramonium Thorn Apple, Jimsonweed, Jamestown Weed

Datura stramonium Thorn Apple, Jimsonweed, Jamestown Weed


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Bloom Color: Purple, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer, Mid fall. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Datura stramonium is a ANNUAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Moths.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Datura inermis Juss. ex Jacq. Datura pseudostramonium Sieb. Bernh. Tromms 1933. Datura str

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne  Anthelmintic  Antiasthmatic  Antidandruff  Antiinflammatory  Antispasmodic  Hallucinogenic  Hypnotic  
Mydriatic  Narcotic

The thornapple is a bitter narcotic plant that relieves pain and encourages healing[238]. It has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, though it is very poisonous and should be used with extreme caution. The leaves, flowering tops and seeds are anodyne, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, mydriatic and narcotic[1, 4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 46, 165, 238, 240]. The seeds are the most active medicinally[4]. The plant is used internally in the treatment of asthma and Parkinson's disease, excess causes giddiness, dry mouth, hallucinations and coma[238]. Externally, it is used as a poultice or wash in the treatment of fistulas, abscesses wounds and severe neuralgia[238, 257]. The use of this plant is subject to legal restrictions in some countries[238]. It should be used with extreme caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner since all parts of the plant are very poisonous and the difference between a medicinal dose and a toxic dose is very small[21, 213, 238]. The leaves should be harvested when the plant is in full flower, they are then dried for later use[4]. The leaves can be used as a very powerful mind-altering drug, they contain hyoscyamine and atropine[213]. There are also traces of scopolamine, a potent cholinergic-blocking hallucinogen, which has been used to calm schizoid patients[213]. Atropine dilates the pupils and is used in eye surgery[222]. The leaves have been smoked as an antispasmodic in the treatment for asthma, though this practice is extremely dangerous[213, 222]. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter and acrid taste with a cooling and very poisonous potency[241]. Analgesic, anthelmintic and anti-inflammatory, they are used in the treatment of stomach and intestinal pain due to worm infestation, toothache and fever from inflammations[241]. The juice of the fruit is applied to the scalp to treat dandruff[243].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Hair  Repellent

The growing plant is said to protect neighbouring plants from insects[18, 20]. The juice of the fruits is applied to the scalp to cure dandruff and falling hair[243]. There has also been considerable interest in the use of extracts of Datura species as botanical pesticides. D. metel, for example, appears to suppress a number of nematode species of economic importance. Landscape Uses: Border, Container, Foundation, Specimen.

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses: Border, Container, Foundation, Specimen. Succeeds in most moderately good soils but prefers a rich light sandy soil or a calcareous loam, and an open sunny position[1, 4, 200]. Plants often self-sow when well sited[1]. The thornapple is cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant[57]. It can become a weed in suitable conditions and is subject to statutory control in some countries[238]. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes[200]. Grows well with pumpkins[20]. The whole plant gives off a nauseating stench[245]. Special Features: North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse[200]. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Common thornapple; devils trumpet; jamestown-weed; mad-apple; stinkwort. Spanish: belladona del pobre; cajon del diablo; chamico grande; chamisco; datura manzana; estramonio; manzana espinosa; peo de fraille. French: belladone; conchombre diable; concombre a chein; datura stramonie; herbe des taupes; pomme epineuse; stramonie commune. Arabic: datoora; tatoora. Portuguese: estramanonio; figueira do inferno; figueire do inferno; quinquilho. Bhutan: dhaturo; nyangmo-throkchang. Brazil: bem casado; estrasmónio; mamoninha brava; mata zombando; sia branca; trombeteira; zabumba. Cuba: campana; chamico. Germany: Stechapfel. Indonesia: kecubung lutik; kecubung wulung. Italy: indormia; stramonio comune. Japan: shirobanachosenasagao. Lebanon: daturah; nafir. Netherlands: Doornappel. Norway: piggeple. Poland: bielun dziedzierzawa. South Africa: bloustinkolie; doringapple; gewone; iloqi; lechoe; lethsowe; makolieboom; makstinkblaar; makstinkolie; malpitte; olieblaar; olieblaarneut; olieneut; pietjielaporte; steekappel; stinkblaar; umhlavuthwa; zaba-zaba. Sweden: spikklubba. Thailand: lampong. Zimbabwe: chowa.

Native to the tropical regions of Central and South America, D. stramonium has become a cosmopolitan weed in the warm regions of North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It is now found throughout almost all the USA except for the north-west and northern great plains.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

D. stramonium is very widely distributed in temperate and tropical areas and is likely to be found in almost any summer crop. Indeed, Holm et al. (1997) state that it has been reported as a weed in more than 40 crops in almost 100 countries.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Datura inoxiaDowny Thorn Apple, PricklyburrAnnual1.0 8-11  LMNDM131
Datura metelThorn Apple, Angel's Trumpet, Hindu Datura, Horn of Plenty, Downy Thorn AppleAnnual1.5 8-11 MLMNDM13 
Datura quercifoliaOak Leaf Datura, Chinese thorn-appleAnnual1.5 7-10  LMNDM130

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Megan   Wed Jan 5 03:11:05 2005

Within the American youth culture of today, there is a resurgence of use of this herb for recreational purposes. There are many instances of overdosage and death. It is extremely dangerous.

chelsea   Tue Jan 23 2007

what is the differance between the male and female. for science i needed a picture of the diffent parts.

dr.subhransu sekhar mishra   Tue Jan 15 2008

in orissa some tribal healers use this plant for arthritis and joint pain (they use theleaf for poultice).some tribal healer use this plant seeds oil to cure eczema.though commonly available it is very usefull indeed.

mike crompton   Mon Jul 13 2009

Have just identified this species growing in our garden in Cambridgshire. Have now removed this to the recycling bin!

J Cooper   Fri Aug 21 2009

I have one of these plants growing in a container - it appeared in May and is quite large now. The plant I had originally put in there has gradually died as the thorn apple has thrived. It has taken me ages to find out what type of plant it is - I live in Scotland and have never seen it before. I've even been around a couple of botanic gardens to try and identify it - no wonder they didn't have any growing there!

rosamond h. lownes   Mon Oct 26 2009

I was given one in bloom with the large blossoms growing sraight up and the scent was lovely.There is one pod - rather like a green prickly chestnut..

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