Saturday, October 30, 2004

Moonflower - Datura

I wish I could get better flower pictures. I am hoping the price of Digital SLR cameras will drop dramatically this winter so that I will be able to equip myself with some top of the line equipment next year. I can sometimes get pictures of large flowers. The picture to the right is a Moonflower (datura). It is a member of the nightshade family that grows in alkaline soils and is deadly poisonous. Several pages indicate you can get poisoned by touching the plant (

The Moonflower is a large, noticeable flower that you might find in desert canyons. The plant grows well in disturbed soil so you might see it on roadsides. The plant would probably do well in a native plant garden...I wouldn't want to plant it in a place where kids might get into it. Ranchers consider it a weed (Jimson Weed). The plant often called the sacred datura. Most Native Americans take this to mean: "it is sacred don't touch." Being poisonous, apparently the plant can induce hallucinations. Some Native American tribes used the plant in rituals. Nightshade is poisonous, from reading different web sites on the subject, it appears that many people have earned a Darwin Award by experimenting with the plant. (They removed themselves from the gene pool).

It is an interesting plant to research. Apparently varieties of the plant grow around the world. The term Jimson Weed derives from a poisoning that occurred in historic Jamestown. The term Moonflower is also used for a variety of Morning Glory.

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