This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Arabic name). Syn. Brugmansia. Sol-anacese. Thorn-Apple. Several large plants cultivated for their huge trumpet-like flowers, which have an odor that is very pleasant to some persons.
Annual or perennial herbs, shrubs, and trees: leaves large, entire or wavy-toothed: flowers large, solitary, erect or pendulous, mostly white, with more or less violet, rarely red or yellow; calyx 5-toothed, sometimes breaking apart near the base or splitting lengthwise; corolla trumpet-shaped, with spreading 5-10-toothed limb; stamens 5, all perfect, slightly or not at all exserted, the filaments slender; style long, the stigma 2-lobed: fruit a large 2-celled caps., mostly prickly or spiny, usually dry and 4-valved at top but sometimes fleshy and bursting irregularly, with large seeds. - Some 15 species, mostly strong-smelling, in the warmer parts of the globe, some of them weeds.
A few daturas are grown as flower-garden subjects, or the shrubby kinds under glass or as tub specimens. The most popular kind in northern gardens is commonly called D. cornucopia (Fig. 1227), which is especially interesting when its flowers develop two or three well-defined trumpets, one within another. Sometimes, however, these double flowers are a confused mass of petalage. Double and triple forms are likely to occur in any of the species described below. The horn-of-plenty has been especially popular in America since about 1895, when it was found in South America by an orchid collector of the United States Nursery Company, and soon became widely distributed in "yellow, white, blue and deep carmine," all double forms. Daturas contain strong narcotics. Large doses are poisonous, small doses medicinal. Separate preparations of Stramonium seed and leaves are commonly sold in the drugstores. D. Stramonium (Fig. 1228) is the thorn-apple or Jamestown weed, the latter name being corrupted into jimson weed. Its foul, rank herbage and large spiny fruits are often seen in rubbish heaps. At the first successful settlement in America-Jamestown, Virginia, 1607-it is said that the men ate these thorn-apples with curious results. Capt. John Smith's account of their mad antics is very entertaining.
It has been conjectured that this same plant was used by the priests at Delphi to produce oracular ravings. The seeds of D. sanguinea are said to have been used by Peruvian priests that were believed to have prophetic power.
Daturas are of easy culture. Some are treated as tender annuals. In the North the woody species can be grown outdoors in summer, and stored in cellars during the winter; in the South and in southern California they are almost everblooming. They are sometimes kept in cool conservatories the year round, in which case they should be planted in the border, as they rarely flower well in pots, their roots being large and spreading and requiring a constant supply of moisture. This method produces great quantities of bloom in spring. After flowering, the plants should be cut in to the main limbs.
a. Flowers red.
Ruiz & Pav. Tree-like shrub, 4-12 ft. high: branches fragile, leafy at the apex: leaves clustered, 5-7 from the same point, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, almost 7 in. long, 2 1/2-2 3/4 in. wide, pubescent on both sides, shining green above, paler beneath, the lower leaves wavy or angled, upper one entire; petioles 2 1/2 in. long, channeled, pubescent: peduncles terminal; flowers pendulous, brilliant orange-red, about 8 in. long; calyx ovate, 5-angled, variegated, inflated. Peru. B.R. 1739 (as B. bicolor). F.S. 18:1883. - All the other species are said to be easily raised from cuttings, but this is very slow to take root.
aa. Flowers yellow.
Hook. Shrub, glabrous throughout: leaves broadly ovate, almost triangular; margin wavy, with short, rather sharp, very distinct teeth: peduncles axillary, very short; flowers pendulous, yellow; calyx tubular, with 5 nearly uniform, short, triangular teeth. Habitat unknown. B.M. 5128. Gn. 46:429; 49, p. 379. - Datura "Golden Queen" is presumably a horticultural variety of this species. While this species is horti-culturally distinct by reason of its yellow flowers, it is a doubtful species botanically, being founded on a very double garden form of unknown origin. In Vilmorin's
Blumengartnerei, by Voss, it is referred to D. humilis, Desf., but D. humilis, in turn, is perhaps a form of D. fastuosa.
AAA. Flowers normally white (sometimes touched with violet) or purple.
b. Plants tall, 7-15 ft. high: blossoms pendulous.
c. Calyx tubular, with 5 obscure teeth.
Humb. & Bonpl. (D. Gardneri, Hook.). Angel's Trumpet. Tree-like shrub, 10-15 ft. high: leaves ovate-oblong, 6-12 in. long, 2 1/4-4 in. wide, entire, glabrous, petioled, often unequal at the base: flowers 9-12 in. long; calyx inflated, angled, glabrous, with 5 obscure teeth; corolla-tube plaited, the limb with 5 short lobes; anthers crowded together. Mex. G.C. III. 11:593; 23:71. S.H. 2:433. - The double form is much commoner in the gardens than the single. This is the plant which is "usually cult, as D. arborea. It is said to be very distinct from the true D. arborea of Linn., but it can be separated with certainty by the calyx.
cc. Calyx spathe-like, not toothed.
Linn. (Brugmansia arborea, Steud.). Angel's Trumpet. Small tree: leaves ovate-lanceolate, margin entire, never wavy or angled, pubescent, in pairs, one a third shorter than the other; petioles 1 in. or more long: flowers with a musk-like odor; calyx tubular, entire, spathe-like, acuminate; corolla-tube terete, the lobes of the limb very long; anthers distinct, not conglomerate. Peru and Chile. G.C. II. 11:141. - Most of the plants cult, under this name are presumably D. suaveolens. The extent to which the true D. arborea is cult, is undetermined.
bb. Plants less tall, only 2-5 ft. high. c. Blossoms erect; calyx not spurred. fastuosa, Linn. (D. Hummatu, Bernh. D. and B. cornucopia, Hort.). Fig. 1227. Annual, 4-5 ft. high, herbaceous: leaves ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, acute and unequal at the base, toothed or wavy, glabrous on both sides, solitary, upper ones in pairs one of which is larger, 7-8 in. long, 2 1/2-3 1/2 in. wide; petioles 1 1/2-2 1/2 in. long: flowers 6 1/2-7 in. long, violet outside, whitish within; calyx purple, angled, 2 in. long, 5-toothed, the teeth triangular lanceolate, acuminate, 5 lines long, 2-3 lines wide: caps, spiny, subglobose, 1 1/4 in. diam. Native of India. Naturalized in the tropics of both worlds. F.S. 14:1457. Gn. 46:224. I.H. 42:25. - The commonest garden datura. Resembles the common D. Stramonium, but flowers larger. variety alba, Clarke (D. alba, Nees), has flowers white or nearly so. (D. alba variety africana, Fedde, is distinguished by its larger leaves, longer calyx, and corolla glabrous outside.
Italian Somaliland.) variety dubia, Clarke (D. diibia, Don. D. Nilhummatu, Dunal), has spineless fruits variety Huber-iana, Hort., is a thick bushy cult, form with large flowers of several colors, running into yellowish, blue and red; it is said to be a hybrid with D. chlorantha.
DC. (D. Wrightii, Hort.). Perennial (cult, as an annual N.), glaucescent and puberulent: branches slender, forked: leaves unequally ovate, almost entire, acuminate, acute at both ends, upper leaves often in pairs, the larger 2-2 1/4 in- long, 8-9 lines wide; petioles thickened at the base, 4-5 lines wide: calyx tubular, the teeth mostly 5; corolla about 4-8 in. long, or twice as long as the calyx, 5-toothed, the teeth slender-subulate: caps. 2 in. diam., succulent, prickly. Texas to Calif. Gt. 1859:260. R.H. 1857, p. 571. F.S. 12:1266. - Flowers white, suffused with violet, fragrant. Occurs also in Northern Mex.
cc. Blossoms pendulous; calyx with a long spur.
Hook. (D. and B. Knightii, Hort.).
Height 3-4 ft.: branches downy: leaves chiefly at the ends of branches, ovate, petioled, acuminate, margin entire, wavy or angled: flowers pendulous, white or creamy white, very fragrant at night, striated, 5-lobed, the lobe terminated by a long awl-shaped spreading or recurved point; stamens included. Mex. B.M. 4252. Brug-mansia Knightii seems to be a trade name for only the double form. Gn. 45, p. 549.
Weedy annual species of Datura, introduced from the tropics or warm countries and run free in this country, are: D. Metel, Linn. Pubescent: leaves entire or slightly toothed: calyx tubular; corolla-limb 10-lobed, 4 in. across: caps, nodding, prickly: 3-5 ft.: flowers white. - D. Stramonium, Linn. Fig. 1228. The common stramonium or jimson-weed: glabrous, green-stemmed: leaves ovate, sinuate or angled or even cut-toothed: caps erect, with stout prickles: 2-4 ft.: flowers white. A very similar species but with a smooth and spineless caps, is D. inermis, Jacq. - D. Tatula, Linn. Differs from C. Stramonium in having purple stems, and violet-purple or lavender flowers, and prickles of the caps, more nearly equal.
Fig. 1228. Pods of Datura Stramonium. (X 1/3)
Other daturas more or less cult, abroad are: D. ceratocaula, Ort. Annual, 2 ft.: branches horn-shaped: leaves broad-lanceolate: flowers very large, inside white or light violet, outside bluish, opening late in afternoon till middle of forenoon: fruit hanging, smooth. tropical Amer. B.M. 3352. - D. coccinea, Hort.=D. De Noted. - -D. colossea aurea, Hort. Garden hybrid, parentage not reported, with bright golden yellow flowers - D. De Noteri, Hort. Probably annual: 3 ft.: flowers fragrant, brilliant red, freely produced. S. Africa - D. ferox, Linn. stem thick, glabrous, red at base but otherwise green-or white-punctate: leaves rhombic-ovate, angled-toothed: calyx 5-angled and about 5-parted; corolla light blue, the limb angulate: fruit unequally spiny, with 4 large spines at top. S. Eu. - D. querci-fdlia, HBK. Annual, with green stems, the young growth somewhat pubescent: leaves deeply sinuate-pinnatifid.: flowers as in D. Tatula: caps, bearing large and unequal flattened prickles that are some-times 1/2 in. long.
Mex. Wllhelm Mlller.
L. H. B.† Daubentonia: Sesbania.