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The Difference Between Brugmansia & Datura

Posted by Xeramatheum SCz8 ( on
Tue, Sep 6, 05 at 2:40

Ever since I posted my double white datura in the exchange with a picture, I have been getting a number of emails from people who are confused about the difference between Brugmansia & Datura. Here is what I know. I would appreciate any corrections if the info is wong.

Both Brugmansia & Datura are in the same family of Solanaceae.

Brugmansia grow into trees, produce brown wood and are perennial in warmer climates. 99% of their flowers point down and are usually called Angels Trumpet. They produce green bean like seed pods.

Datura are annual bushes (except in climates with no frost) and do not produce brown wood. Their stems and trunks are almost always green. Their flowers point up and are mistakenly called Angels Trumpet but are acutally Devils Trumpet. They produce round, spikey or bumpy seed pods that can literally explode when ripe throwing seeds all over the place if the pod is not well hydrated.

All parts of both are extremely toxic. The roots, stems, flowers, leaves and seeds contain the chemicals atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine in varying concentrations. If you have toddlers or pets that like to sample plants you must take special care to make sure they cannot come in contact in anyway with either plant. If ingested it could kill them.

When handling either, make it a point not to touch your face, eat or handle food until you have washed your hands. There have been a few posts in the last few months describing the symptoms of Solanaceae poisoning. If you have ever experienced headaches, confusion or vision problems after working with your Brugs or Dats, you have inadvertantly poisoned yourself. Most of the time you will not connect the two. I have poisoned myself unknowingly harvesting Datura seeds when I had open cuts on my fingers or neglected to wash my hands right after harvesting the seeds.

There will be a test tomorrow ;-)


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: The Difference Between Brugmansia & Datura

Hey X,
What about the smell? :P

RE: The Difference Between Brugmansia & Datura

Great list! : ) I would like to add the following:

Daturas are most easily propagated via seed and come true from seed. Brugmansias do not come true from seed and are very easily propagated via cutting.

"Datura are annual bushes (except in climates with no frost) and do not produce brown wood. Their stems and trunks are almost always green."
As you said, "almost always." Some varieties (such as the double lavendar I grow) have BLACK stems and trunks (very gothic-looking).

I've also noticed that my daturas have noticably darker green leaves than my brugmansias (and they get the same care, in the same beds).

RE: The Difference Between Brugmansia & Datura

That is good information and will definitely help people who are confused about the two genuses.

Datura as a genus has much more variation between species than Brugsmansia. Most Brugsmansia look very alike with the exception of Brugsmansia sanguinea and vulcanicola. Datura species on the other hand have several different growth habits and may be low lying, spreading, or upright with green to purple stems. Several species have hairy stems and leaves especially Datura ferox. The most interesting Datura species I grow is Datura ceratocaula, a semi-aquatic species from Mexico and South America that has an unbranched stem with small leaves only at the apical portion.

RE: The Difference Between Brugmansia & Datura

Datura is a short lived perennial down here, and lives three to four years, and does produce some brown woody trunks and stems. However, they will never get more than about 4 feet tall, no matter how much you feed them. There are some varieties of dats that actually sprawl. Some brugs tend to grow into shrublike shapes, and others more treelike.

Datura like sun, most brugs prefer semi-shade.

Datura don't like a lot of water, prefer to be rather dry, whereas Brugmansia love lots and lots of water.

Datura don't actually need a lot of fertilizer, will do fine without it, and Brugs need a lot of fertilizer.

Some datura do have a scent. Datura wrightii and Datura inoxia, night bloomers both, have a scent, though not as strong as the brugs.

Datura are very hard to propagate from cuttings, brugs are not.

RE: The Difference Between Brugmansia & Datura

You can always just refer them to the FAQs for this forum...(*grin*)

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