Weird Wash Plant

AJBB(9b)March 20, 2014

This plant grew from seed spontaneously six months ago in my wash. Anyone recognize it?

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This is Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) a large, sprawling, native perennial that grows throughout the Arizona between 1,000 and 7,000 feet elevation. It is a member of the family Solanaceae making it a relative of the tomato, potato, and eggplant. It produces dozens of large, fragrant, white, trumpet-shaped flowers during the warm months and dies back to the ground with winter freezes.

All parts of the plant are toxic so don't forget to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after handling sacred datura plant parts or seeds.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:08PM
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Datura, Jimson weed, deadly nightshade, and (with many others) locoweed. Huge white trumpet flowers to come!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:09PM
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I see a flower already coming up on the left. You think they are weird now wait until you see their seed pods. Flower petals make a hallucinogenic tea (I'm told) ... too much and you die.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:37PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Yup, I agree with the others, it's definitely Datura, and probably D. wrightii (which I still call D. meteloides even though wrightii is more current now). It's a great garden plant if you like it, which I do. I've been growing it as a garden plant for 25 years now from my original plant. I've grown it in many different climates (via seed and divisions) although I think it loves AZ the best. They're very good garden perennials, especially if you hack them back now and then, hah!

Since my garden didn't get even a frost this past winter, mine are ahead of schedule since they didn't get cut back. Here's a pic of one of mine in bloom this week with Wilson the tennis ball to show relative size. Neat, fun plants.

They'll attract/host caterpillars for those amazing hummingbird moths/ hover moths too. I always relocate those caterpillars OFF of my tomatoes and peppers and onto the datura, lol. Happy gardening! Let us know if you keep this plant around.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Thank you all for your responses. Here's a new shot of the same plant, a sacred datura, taken a few days ago.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 12:23AM
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To keep them blooming don't let them produce seed pods. cut off the blooms when they droop or definitely remove the seed pods when they first appear. Grant taught me that years and years ago.
I've probably had the same volunteer plant for 15 years now.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 10:01PM
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One big warning which is very important for people who have extreme alternative smoking habits. One can smoke parts of this puppy and get high, but its two main harsh alkaloids have a tendency to cause permanent intellectual harm. As I understand it (from a film strip that Coach showed us in Algebra class) the reason is that the strength of those alkaloids varies enormously from plant to plant.

Something to consider if there are really inquisitive teenagers around. Consequences are possibly ghastly. Just saying...

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:06AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Looks great AJBB! Like Harold said, removing faded blooms or seed pods definitely encourages more flowers. I am religious about it all summer and then eventually the plant outgrows me and a few hidden seed pods ripen without me seeing them, LOL, but hey, that's how I get the occasional seed or seedling to share. Removing them does increase bloom season for sure. Mine bloom off an on from spring until late autumn. Really a great plant, and so fragrant at night and early morning.

At this time of year, when it's still not too hot, the flowers on mine often last for a couple of days/nights, instead of just sunset to mid-morning the following day.

Thanks for posting the pics. Fun updates and discussions too. Happy gardening all!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:53PM
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