The species name is sometimes spelt Datura innoxia.
Datura guayaquilensis Kunth
Datura meteloides Dunal
Datura velutinosa V.R.Fuentes
Common Name: Downy Thorn Apple
Downy thorn apple is an annual plant growing about 1 metre tall.
The plant is gathered from the wild and used locally for various medicinal properties. It is a commercial source of the alkaloid scopolamine, which is used in the pharmaceutical industry[
All members of this genus contain narcotics and are very poisonous, even in small doses[
South-western N. America to Central America.
Sandy or gravelly dry open places at elevations below 1,200 metres in California[
A plant of subtropical to tropical areas. It is not very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c[
Prefers a rich light sandy soil[
] and an open sunny position[
]. It is best grown in a fertile calcareous soil[
This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes[
Fruit - ground up and mixed with clay[
] ( the clay probably has a neutralizing effect on the toxins). A very toxic plant, its use as a food cannot be recommended[
]. The fruit is up to 5cm long and 7cm wide[
A stupefying beverage is made from the leaves and roots[
All parts of the plant are anodyne, antispasmodic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic and narcotic[
]. It has been used in the past as a pain killer and also in the treatment of insanity, fevers with catarrh, diarrhoea and skin diseases[
]. The plant contains several alkaloids, the most active of which is scopolamine[
]. This is a potent cholinergic-blocking hallucinogen, which has been used to calm schizoid patients[
]. The leaves contain 0.52% scopolamine, the calices 1.08%, the stems 0.3%, the roots 0.39%, the fruits 0.77%, the capsules 0.33%, the seeds 0.44% and the whole plant 0.52 - 0.62%[
]. Any use of this plant should be with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner since the toxic dose is very close to the medicinal dose.
Seed - best pre-soaked for twelve hours in warm water before sowing. Seed can be sown in situ, or in a nursery seedbed. Germination takes 14 - 30 days[
]. If the seed is sown in a nursery, then seedlings are transplanted into their final positions when 8 - 12 cm tall[
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