Datura (Solanaceæ)

datura.jpg

 

The Datura plant is native to the Americas, India and Asia in general, as well as Central and North Africa. It also grows happily on the island of Mallorca.

I like the ornamental properties of the plant and the trumpet shape of its flower. The smell is quite perfumed. The plant is easy to grow, and once established, needs little water.

Common names for Datura are numerous, some of the most common ones being raving nightshade, thorn apple, stinkweed, Devil’s apple, Jimson weed, and angel’s trumpet. Beware though. Daturas are of the deadly nightshades (Solanaceæ) family and of the Magnoliopsida class; they are related to Belladonna, Mandrake, Henbane and Tobacco. They are intoxicating, narcotic and poisonous, and thus, not without some risks and of a certain danger. The Datura plant is also known for having some hallucinogenic properties, not unlike LSD.

In the 11th Century, the plant was mentioned in the Arab Avicenna as a medicinal plant. In Europe, use of the Datura can also be traced back to pagan rituals. If you want to know more about the medicinal, ritualist or magic properties, I suggest you research the plant on the Internet.

If you just want to appreciate the looks and the fragrance in the privacy of your own garden, ask a friend for a cutting or some seeds, or consult with your local garden centre. In Mallorca, you can find the plant in various specimen forms: as shrubs, as trees, and as low growing flower plants.

datura1.jpg

I first came across the Datura plant whilst reading about it, before I even moved to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca.

American author, Paul Bowles, lived for many years in Morocco, where he wrote his novels and poems, and also created some of his music. He acted as a narrator and translator for some of the native writers of the Maghreb background, too. It was in this context that I read about the Datura plant being used in the brewing of coffee to achieve some hallucinogenic effect.

I have not tried the application myself; I prefer my coffee the café solo way.

~ by plantarium on January 7, 2008.

2 Responses to “Datura (Solanaceæ)”

  1. the first picture ist solandra maxima, not datura I think..
    but I really like your website!

  2. This plant is good for making a balm to massage into the areas of the body affected by sciatica or eczema.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: