jimsonweed plant

Jimsonweed plant

Datura stramonium
Nightshade family (Solanaceae)

Description: This plant is a summer annual about 3-5′ tall that branches dichotomously. The stems are green or purple and largely hairless, although young stems often have conspicuous hairs. The alternate leaves are up to 8″ long and 6″ across (excluding the petioles). They are ovate or ovate-cordate in outline, but pinnately lobed. These lobes are somewhat shallow and pointed at their tips; there are usually 2-3 of these lobes on each side of the leaf blade. The margin of each leaf may have a few secondary lobes or coarse dentate teeth, otherwise it is smooth or slightly undulate. The leaves may be slightly pubescent when young, but become hairless with age; the upper surface of each leaf is often dark green and dull. The foliage of Jimsonweed exudes a bitter rank odor.

Individual flowers occur where the stems branch dichotomously; the upper stems also terminate in individual flowers. The funnelform corolla of each flower is up to 5″ long and 2″ across when fully open; its outer rim has 5 shallow lobes. Each of these lobes forms an acute point in the middle.The corolla is white or pale violet throughout, except at the throat of the flower, where thick veins of dark violet occur. The light green calyx is shorter than the corolla and conspicuously divided along its length by 5 membranous wings. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 2 months. The flowers usually don’t open up until midnight and close early in the morning; less often, the flowers may bloom toward the middle of the day, especially when it is cloudy. Individual flowers last only a single day. Each flower is replaced by a hard fruit that is dry and spiny; it is about 1Ѕ” long, 1″ across, and spheroid-ovoid in shape. Underneath each fruit is a truncated remnant of the calyx that curves sharply downward. These fruits are initially green, but become brown with maturity; they divide into 4 segments to release the seeds. The large seeds are dull, irregular, and dark-colored; their surface may be pitted or slightly reticulated. The root system consists of taproot that is shallow for the size of the plant; it branches frequently. Jimsonweed spreads by reseeding itself.

Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a rich fertile soil with high nitrogen content. This type of soil is necessary to supply the nutrients that are required by the prodigious growth of this annual plant. The foliage is often pitted by tiny holes that are made by flea beetles (the same or similar species that attack eggplant). The seeds can remain viable in the ground for several years.

Range & Habitat: Jimsonweed is a fairly common plant that has been observed in most counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is probably adventive from tropical America and it was first observed in the United States at the Jamestown colony during the 17th century. Typical habitats include cropland (particularly corn fields), fallow fields, old feed lots, piles of soil at construction sites, mounds of decomposed mulch and discarded vegetation, urban vacant lots, and miscellaneous waste areas. Disturbed areas with open fertile soil are strongly preferred.

Faunal Associations: The flowers are cross-pollinated by nectar-seeking Sphinx moths. Various species of beetles are attracted by the flowers, especially at night, where they steal nectar and chomp on the pollen. The foliage and other parts of Jimsonweed are a source of food for several flea beetles ( Epitrix spp. ), Three-lined Potato Beetle ( Lema daturaphila ), Colorado Potato Beetle ( Leptinotarsa decemlineata ), Clavate Tortoise Beetle ( Plagiometriona clavata ), and larvae of the Pink-spotted Hawk Moth ( Agrius cingulata ); see Clark et al. (2004) and Covell (1984/2005). The foliage and seeds contain an impressive assortment of toxic alkaloids that can be fatal to mammalian herbivores and humans. Some of these alkaloids are mildly narcotic and hallucinogenic. The immature seeds are especially poisonous; as few as 20 seeds can fatally poison a child. It is doubtful that birds make any use of these toxic seeds. Humans help to spread the seeds around through activities that are related to agriculture, construction, and landscaping.

Photographic Location: Near piles of soil at a vacant lot in Champaign, Illinois. These piles of soil were dumped and occasionally carried off by trucks in relation to off-site construction and landscaping activities.

Comments: The common name ‘Jimsonweed’ is probably a corruption of ‘Jamestown Weed,’ referring to where this species was first observed in North America. Another common name that is often used for this species is ‘Thornapple.’ Two varieties of Jimsonweed have been described. The typical variety has green stems and white flowers, while var. tatula has purple stems and either pale violet or purple-striped flowers. Jimsonweed has a distinct appearance, making it easy to identify.

The only other Datura spp. in Illinois, Datura wrightii (Angel’s Trumpet), rarely naturalizes in the wild. It is sometimes cultivated in flower gardens because of its attractive flowers. Angel’s Trumpet is a hairier plant with unlobed leaves and larger flowers. The corolla of its flowers ranges from 5-8″ in length, while the corolla of Jimsonweed’s flowers is about 3–5″ in length. Both of these Datura spp. have flowers that bloom during the night. Another species in the Nightshade family, Nicandra physalodes (Shoofly Plant), also rarely naturalizes in the wild. The Shoofly Plant has foliage that is similar to Jimsonweed, but its funnelform flowers are much smaller (less than 1Ѕ” long and across). Unlike Jimsonweed, the flowers of Shoofly Plant are strictly diurnal.

Jimsonweed plant Jimsonweed Datura stramonium Nightshade family (Solanaceae) Description: This plant is a summer annual about 3-5′ tall that branches dichotomously. The stems are


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  • Overview
  • Uses
  • Side Effects
  • Interactions
  • Dosing

Overview Information

Jimson weed is a plant. The leaves and seeds are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, jimson weed is used to treat asthma, cough, flu (influenza), swine flu, and nerve diseases.

Some people use it as a recreational drug to cause hallucinations and a heightened sense of well-being (euphoria). Parents should be warned about the online availability of jimson weed for purchase.

How does it work?

Jimson weed contains chemicals such as atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. These chemicals interfere with one of the chemical messengers (acetylcholine) in the brain and nerves.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Asthma.
  • Cough.
  • Nerve diseases.
  • Causing hallucinations and elevated mood (euphoria).
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of jimson weed for these uses.

Side Effects & Safety

Special Precautions & Warnings:

No one should take jimson weed, but certain people are especially at risk for toxic side effects. These side effects are especially dangerous if you have any of the following conditions:

Children: Jimson weed is UNSAFE when taken by mouth or inhaled by children. They are more sensitive than adults to the toxic effects of jimson weed. Even a small amount can kill them.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Jimson weed is UNSAFE for both mother and child when taken by mouth or inhaled.

Congestive heart failure (CHF): Jimson weed might cause rapid heartbeat and make CHF worse.

Constipation: Jimson weed might cause constipation.

Down syndrome: People with Down syndrome might be especially sensitive to the dangerous side effects of jimson weed.

Seizures: Jimson weed can cause seizures. Do not use jimson weed if you suffer from frequent seizures.

Esophageal reflux: In esophageal reflux, food and liquid in the stomach leak backwards into the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach (esophagus). Jimson weed might make this condition worse because it slows down the process that empties the stomach. It also lowers the pressure in the bottom of the esophagus, making it more likely that stomach contents will go back up.

Fever: Jimson weed might make fever worse.

Stomach ulcer: Jimson weed might delay stomach emptying and make ulcers worse.

Stomach and intestinal infections: Jimson weed might slow down the emptying of the stomach and intestines. As a result, “bad” bacteria and the toxins they produce could remain in the digestive tract longer than usual. This could make infections caused by these bacteria worse.

Hiatal hernia: Hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach is pushed up into the chest through a hole or tear in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest space from the stomach space. Taking jimson weed might make hiatal hernia worse. It can slow down the process that empties the stomach.

Glaucoma: Glaucoma is an eye disease. It raises the pressure inside the eye and can lead to blindness, if it isn’t treated. Jimson weed is especially dangerous for people with glaucoma because it might raise the pressure inside the eye even more.

Obstructive digestive tract disorders, including atony, paralytic ileus, and stenosis: Jimson weed might make these conditions worse.

Rapid heartbeat: Jimson weed might make this condition worse.

Toxic megacolon: In this life-threatening condition, the large intestine (colon) suddenly becomes extra wide because of an infection or other intestinal disorder. Taking jimson weed might make this condition worse.

Ulcerative colitis: This is an inflammatory bowel disorder that affects the large intestine. Taking jimson weed might make this condition worse.

Difficulty passing urine (urinary retention): Taking jimson weed might make this condition worse.

Interactions ?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

Drying medications (Anticholinergic drugs) interacts with JIMSON WEED

Jimson weed contains chemicals that cause a drying effect. It also affects the brain and heart. Drying medications called anticholinergic drugs can also cause these effects. Taking jimson weed and drying medications together might cause side effects including dry skin, dizziness, low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, and other serious side effects.

Some of these drying medications include atropine, scopolamine, and some medications used for allergies (antihistamines), and for depression (antidepressants).


The appropriate dose of jimson weed depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for jimson weed. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Learn more about Jimson Weed uses, effectiveness, possible side effects, interactions, dosage, user ratings and products that contain Jimson Weed