Datura stramonium

Scientific Name Datura stramonium L.
Common Names English: Common thorn-apple; German: Gemeiner Stechapfel; French: Stramoine commune; Spanish: Estramonio, higuera loca
Description Annual, vigorous, seed-propagated weed with spindle-shaped, white, heavily-ramified root.

Descriptions

Characteristic Features

Very large.
Funnel-formed solitary flowers in leaf axils.
Fruit is a spiny oval capsule.

Young Plant

Long, slender, lanceolate acuminate, short-petiolate.

Stems

Erect, round, hairless, usually forked ramifications, 30-120 cm (11.81 - 47.24 inch) high.

Leaves

Long-petiolate, ovate acuminate, wedge-shaped at the base, margin coarsely sinuate dentate. Upper surface dark green, lighter underneath.

Propagatio Organs

Flowers

Short-pedunculate, white, erect, single in the branch crotches or on branch tips.
Corolla funnel-shaped, with broad, plicate border, calyx long-tubed, with five teeth.

Flowering Period

Summer-autumn.

Fruit

Spiny oval capsule 3-5 cm (1.18 - 1.97 inch) with many seeds.

Seeds

Germination in late spring.

Viability Of Seeds

Up to 30 years.

Propagation

By seed.
500 - 5,000 seeds/plant.

Occurrence

Habitat

Disturbed areas, along roadsides, old fields, pastures, waste places.

Soil

D. stramonium likes warm and nitrogen-rich soils and prefers light.

Additional Crop Information

In warm climates a weed in corn, potatoes and beets (late germinator) and in disturbed areas.

Agricultural Importance

The entire plant is very poisonous due to alcaloids Hyoscyamin, Atropin and Scopolamin! The plant was introduced into Europe from North America and used as a drug (sedative), later it escaped and became a weed mainly in South-East Europe, from there it was spread into Western European corn fields. It shows a rapid development in crops with late canopy closure. Poisonous leaves can make silage and vegetable crop inedible.
Thorn-apple is capable to extract heavy metals and radioactive materials from contaminated soils.

Control

Integrated Crop Management

D. stramonium can be easily controlled by growing winter annual crops and forage crops that are cutted several times during the year.

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