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plant (Photo: Tom Heutte, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)
stem (Photo: Tom Heutte, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)
seedling (Photo: Phil Westra, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)
infestation (Photo: Phil Westra, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)
flower (Photo: Phil Westra, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)
fruit (Photo: Phil Westra, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)
Datura stramonium L.
Datura inermis Juss. ex Jacq; Datura pseudostramonium Sieb. Bernh. Tromms; Datura stramonium var. tatula (L.) Torr.; Datura stromonium var. chalybea W.D.J. Koch, nom. illeg.; Datura tatula L. ; Stramonium vulgatum Gart. Fruct. et Sem.
Common thorn apple, jimson weed, devil's trumpet, devil's weed, thorn apple, tolguacha, Jamestown weed, stinkweed, locoweed, datura, pricklyburr, devil's cucumber, hell's bells, moonflower, amaduudu (Luganda), gathumba (Kikuyu), muana (Kiswahili), ngwata (Kamba), silulu (Kitosh)
The native range of Datura stramonium is unclear but is probably from the tropical regions of Central and South America.
Datura stramonium is invasive in parts of Kenya and Uganda (A.B.R. Witt pers. obs.) and in Tanzania (Henderson 2002).
Roadsides, agricultural lands, disturbed areas, riverbanks.
The leaves are soft, irregularly undulate, and toothed.
The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and 6.5 to 9 cm long. They rarely open completely. The egg-shaped seed capsule is walnut-sized and either covered with spines or bald. At maturity it splits into four chambers, each with dozens of small black seeds.
The seed is thought to be carried by birds and spread in their droppings. they can lay dormant underground for years and germinate when the soil is disturbed.
D. ferox flower is shorter (4-6 cm long) compared to the flower of D. stramonium which is longer, up to 10 cm long.
Brugmansia species may be confused with Datura species. Brugmansias long-lived (perennial) while daturas are annual. Both plants have a trumpet shaped flower; but those of brugmansias point downwards while datura's flowers most often point upward. Brugmansias emit a sweet fragrance while datura's fragrance can be described as spicy or lemony.
Datura stramonium can be grown as an ornamental plant. It also has medicinal properties and is used as a narcotic. However, these uses cannot compensate for this plant's overall negative impacts.
Datura stramonium is one of the world's most widespread weeds and has been recorded from over 100 countries. It is a poisonous weed that competes aggressively with crops in the field and pasture. All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans and other animals, including livestock and pets. D. stramonium has been listed as a noxious weed in South Africa (prohibited plants that must be controlled. They serve no economic purpose and possess characteristics that are harmful to humans, animals or the environment) and several Australian states. In some countries of the world, it is also prohibited to buy, sell or cultivate Datura plants.
The precise management measures adopted for any plant invasion will depend upon factors such as the terrain, the cost and availability of labour, the severity of the infestation and the presence of other invasive species. Some components of an integrated management approach are introduced below.
The best form of invasive species management is prevention. If prevention is no longer possible, it is best to treat the weed infestations when they are small to prevent them from establishing (early detection and rapid response). Controlling the weed before it seeds will reduce future problems. Control is generally best applied to the least infested areas before dense infestations are tackled. Consistent follow-up work is required for sustainable management.
Isolated plants should be hand-pulled before they set seed and larger infestations can be controlled by tillage when weeds are in the seedling stage. This becomes less effective as plants mature as stems become woody plants can regenerate from the roots if they are not completely removed. Datura stramonium is susceptible to a range of soil- and foliar-applied herbicides which are commonly used for selective broadleaf annual weed control. When using any herbicide always read the label first and follow all instructions and safety requirements. If in doubt consult an expert.
This species has been declared a noxious weed under the Noxious Weeds Act CAP 325, in Kenya. Accordingly the Minister of Agriculture can compel land owners who have such declared noxious weeds growing on their land to eradicate or have it otherwise removed.
Henderson, L. (2002). Problem plants in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Final Report to the NCAA.
Agnes Lusweti, National Museums of Kenya; Emily Wabuyele, National Museums of Kenya, Paul Ssegawa, Makerere University; John Mauremootoo, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Secretariat - UK.
This fact sheet is adapted from The Environmental Weeds of Australia by Sheldon Navie and Steve Adkins, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland. We recognise the support from the National Museums of Kenya, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) - Tanzania and Makerere University, Uganda. This activity was undertaken as part of the BioNET-EAFRINET UVIMA Project (Taxonomy for Development in East Africa).
BioNET-EAFRINET Regional Coordinator: [email protected]