Range: Nova Scotia to Minnesota, southward to Florida and Texas. Habitat: Fields and waste places.
A coarse, ill-scented, dangerously poisonous plant, much too common; children have been poisoned by eating its seeds and taking its flowers into their mouths. Although cattle will not touch the plant when green, they have been poisoned by the young leaves when cured in hay.
Stem one to five feet tall, stout, smooth, or slightly hairy when young, pale green, branching by forking. Leaves alternate, three to eight inches long, pointed oval in outline but irregularly cut and toothed, dark green above, lighter below, thin, smooth, with large veins and stout petioles. Flowers solitary on short peduncles in the forks of the branches, the corolla white, trumpet-shaped, sometimes four inches long, the five-lobed mouth of the trumpet flaring to a width of about two inches; five stamens included, their filaments inserted a little below the middle of the corolla tube; calyx five-lobed and ridged, enclosing the tube for nearly half its length. Capsule about two inches long when mature, ovoid, prickly, incompletely four-celled, opening at the top; seeds many, dark brown, wrinkled, and flat. (Fig. 261.)
Both leaves and seeds of Stramonium are used in medicine. About one hundred and fifty thousand pounds of the dried leaves are imported yearly at a cost of two to eight cents a pound, and more than ten thousand pounds of the seeds, costing three to seven cents a pound.
Fig. 261. - Jamestown or Jimson Weed (Datura Stramonium). X 1/6.
Pull or closely cut the plants before the ripening of the earliest capsules.