Sacred Datura

Datura wrightii

Photo by Michael Plagens

Photographed in the foothills of Four Peaks, Maricopa Co., Arizona. Sept. 2006 The image is also hosted at the Wikimedia Project

FLOWERS: Large, funnel-shaped, highly fragrant flowers open at dusk to be pollinated mostly by sphinx moths at night. The five stamens are large and contain copious pollen (image below left).

PERENNIAL : Robust plant blooming from mid spring into fall. Underground potato-like tubers regrow for several seasons. Plants two meters across and a meter tall possible.

LEAVES: Broad triangulate leaves are dark green and often have evidence of caterpillar feeding.

FRUIT: Spherical capsule with fleshy thorns. Upon drying the fruit breaks open irregularly to reveal large, tan seeds.

RANGE: Frequent throughout the Sonoran Desert especially in riparian habitats and near mesquite bosques; also widely cultivated.


Solanaceae -- Nightshade Family

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Datura spp. (Jimson Weed) are toxic to mammals and are rarely eaten by them. On the other hand many insects, especially beetles, make their living by feeding on the leaves, flowers, fruit and stems. The flowers produce nectar and pollen that attract many other insects. Some of the common ones are shown here. Click on thumb images below for additional information.

Datura Weevil  Clavate Tortoise Beetle  Three-lined Potato Beetle  Tobacco Stilt Bug   © by Mike Plagens  Tobacco Hornworm 

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2014,
page updated 14 Aug. 2016