A large family, widely distributed, most abundant in the tropics. Ours are herbs, shrubs, or vines; leaves alternate, without stipules; flowers perfect, usually regular, in clusters; calyx and corolla usually with five united lobes; stamens on the throat of the corolla, as many as its lobes and alternate with them; ovary superior, two-celled, with a slender style; fruit a berry or capsule, with many seeds. Many important plants, such as Tobacco, Belladonna, Tomato, Egg-plant, Red-pepper, and Potato, belong to this family. Many have a strong odor.
There are several kinds of Datura, widely distributed; ours are chiefly weeds, coarse, tall, branching herbs, with rank odor and narcotic properties; leaves large, toothed or lobed, with leaf-stalks; flowers large, single, erect, with short stalks, in the forks of the stems; calyx with a long tube and five teeth, the lower part remaining in the form of a collar or rim around the base of the capsule; corolla funnel-form, with a plaited border and broad lobes with pointed tips; stamens with very long, threadlike filaments, but not protruding; style threadlike, with a two-lipped stigma; fruit a large, roundish, usually prickly capsule, giving these plants the common name, Thorn-Apple. Datura is the Hindoo name.