Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium, L.)
Origin: Central America
Size: up to 2 metres in height
The Jimson Weed or Thorn Apple is an herbaceous annual plant; can grow up to 3 metres in height, forming a bush. The stem is rounded, erect, smooth, pale yellow-green or reddish purple and branched. The leaves are large, wide with irregular teeth at the margin; dark green above and light green underneath. The flowers grow at the axils of the leaves or where the branches fork, they are large creamy or violet with a trumpet shape. The fruits are ovoid capsules covered with spines, when mature it splits into 4 chambers releasing several black seeds. Flowers from June to October.
This species grows in cultivated lands, wastelands, roadsides, and garbage dumps. The origin of this species is unclear but most likely is native to Central America (or south of tropical America), nowadays is naturalized in all warm and temperate areas of the world (Europe, Asia, North America, North Africa and Australia) and in some regions it is considered invasive (E.g Portugal).
The Jimson Weed competes aggressively with other native plants and crops, forming monospecific stands; one single plant can produce thousands of seeds and seeds can remain viable on the soil for more than 40 years. All parts of the plant are toxic, specially the seeds, to humans and cattle.