Datura ferox

Scientific Name Datura ferox
Common Names English: Fierce thorn-apple, large thorn-apple; French: Datura; Spanish: chamico; German: Dorniger Stechapfel
Description Stout annual herb, glabrous or sparsely pubescent with non-glandular hairs, vigourous, seed-propagated weed with spindle-shaped, white, heavily-ramified root. The entire plant is very poisonous due to the alcaloids Hyoscyamin, Atropin and Scopolamin!

Descriptions

Characteristic Features

Fierce thornapple fruits have 40 to 60 prominent spines approximately 3 cm (1.18 inch) long on an egg-shaped capsule.

Cotyledons

Long, slender, lanceolate acuminate, short-petiolate.

Stems

Smooth, about 1 m (39.37 inch).

Leaves

Mature leaves from broadly-ovate and somewhat angular to rounded-triangular, the lamina up to 14 cm (5.51 inch) long and 16 cm (6.29 inch) wide, with a few shallow usually toothed or sinuate lobes.

Propagatio Organs

Flowers

Calyx to 3.5 cm (1.37 inch) long, 5-lobed, the lobes 4-7 mm (0.16 - 0.27 inch) long.
Corolla 4-6 cm (1.57 - 2.36 inch) long, white, 5-lobed, the lobes ending in a point 1-2 mm (0.039 - 0.078 inch) long.
Stamens not exserted.
Anthers 3-4 mm (0.12 - 0.16 inch) long.
Style approximately 3 cm (1.18 inch) long.
Stigma below anthers.

Flowering Period

Summer until autumn.

Fruit

Capsule ellipsoid or nearly so, to 4 cm (1.57 inch) long, erect, spiny.
Spines usually 40-60, stout, conical, sharp, usually longer near capsule summit, the longest at least half length of capsule.
Persistent base of calyx to 8 mm (0.31 inch) long.

Seeds

4-5 mm (0.16 - 0.19 inch) long, black or gray. Germination from late spring until summer.

Viability Of Seeds

Approximately 20 years.

Propagation

By seeds.

Occurrence

Habitat

Waste ground and disturbed areas.

Soil

Prefers warm and nitrogen-rich soils and light.

Agricultural Importance

In Australia Datura ferox is a weed of waste ground and disturbed areas in agricultural and pastoral districts. It is often a serious weed of summer grain crops. The seeds are spread in grain and fodder as well as by agricultural machinery. Fierce thornapple plants, particularly the seeds, contain alkaloids which are potentially toxic to animals.

Control

Integrated Crop Management

Small infestations can be grubbed out or removed by hand, preferably before seed set. If mature seeds are present, these should be collected and destroyed by burning.

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