Thorn apple

Datura stramonium

Its Latin name “Datura stramonium”, whose genus Datura comes from the Hindu name for these plants “Dhatura”. The Latin specific name “stramonuim” means thorny apple.


All parts of the Datura are toxic. Take care to keep children away, licking fingers after contact is dangerous. Eating it leads to a hallucinatory delirium.The thorn apple is therefore very poisonous, it is the most toxic plant of all the Solanaceae.

Species characteristics

Family: Solanaceae

Origin: America

Habitat: Temperate and sub-tropical areas

Characteristics: This plant, which is an annual, can reach a height of 1.80 m.
The tubular flowers, from 7 to 12 cm long, open into a five-lobed funnel.
The nut-sized, ovoid fruit, ripens from July to October, and is covered with long spines.

Flowering period: Early summer, early autumn

Uses and properties: It is useful in the fight against Colorado potato beetle in market gardening. It is used by certain Native American ethnic groups for medicinal purposes or during initiation rituals. It has also been used as a medicinal plant for its antispasmodic and sedative effects on the central nervous system, recommended for asthma and neuralgia.

History and oddities

Druids and sorcerers used Datura potions to cure convulsions, thieves often made people drink wine in which Datura seeds had macerated, in order to put their victims to sleep to rob them. Until the late 1980s, Datura cigarettes were on sale, containing powdered leaves with bronchodilator properties, to treat asthma!
Datura stramonium has been considered since ancient times to be a magical plant, associated with black magic.