Friday, August 15, 2008

Datura


Last week, I found several Datura plants growing in the same vacant automotive service development as pictured here and here. It is deadly, unless you don't take quite enough to kill you. In that case, it's highly hallucinogenic, and has a long history of use for religious, and even defensive, reasons (disabling the enemy). By looking at the leaves, it seems these are Datura innoxia, a different species of Datura than Jimson Weed, which has spiny leaves and is found in desert regions. Having said that, I don't believe this is native to Little Lake Valley, so I must assume it would have been planted for its decorative qualities.

12 comments:

Isadora said...

Like a chameleon - looks innocent and blends in. Who would think of it as being dangerous. Nice shot and informative as well.

Laurie said...

Elaine, dare I ask how you know about this plant?

You are amazing in your breadth of knowledge young lady.

Meead S. said...

Thanks Elaine for the interesting link of conference bike. So innovative!

I didn't know they are deadly.

USelaine said...

Isadora - It is pretty - it looks similar to morning glory flowers with the "trumpet" shape. The lesson is to never eat any plant unless you know it is safe!

Laurie - Now, now. I've never ingested it in my life. I think I first saw it in Georgia O'Keeffe paintings. Later, I worked among professional botanists and ecologists for a while. If there's a native plant, they know about it. Those were very educational days.

I'm glad you liked the Conference Bike. You will probably see one in Portland sooner or later. At first I thought you meant the bike was deadly, but now I see you are talking about the Datura. I think there is a species that grows in Iran too. But I just learned that from Wikipedia - I didn't know it before.

USelaine said...

Ooops! That last relpy was directed to Meead!

Saretta said...

It looks so pretty, you'd never guess it was poisonous!

Halcyon said...

I certainly don't make a habit of wandering around and eating flowers, but you can be sure I won't touch this one.

It is quite pretty though.

Knoxville Girl said...

Sounds like a good recipe for a conspiracy theory.
I really like that peeling paint on the wall, don't know why.

Jules said...

How interesting - I too thought it was morning glory!! Got a kick like a mule for such a sweet innocent looking thing!!!!

USelaine said...

Saretta - I guess it's like remembering not to judge a book by its cover.

Halcyon - Ditto on its spiny "fruit" as well. But there are flowers I love to eat: figs, broccoli, artichokes...

KG - The wikipedia article mentions rebel colonists at Jamestown, Virginia "accidentally" fed datura to English soldiers in 1676, incapacitating them for eleven days. Am I paranoid?

Jules - LOL! Great description! I can't imagine going to Papua New Guinea and feeling safe about the plants. Bananas I recognize. Just feed me the bananas. ;^)

Louis la Vache said...

hehehe
Is some "Mendocino Polio Weed" also growing somewhere on that vacant car lot?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Ming the Merciless said...

Never heard of it before. I thought it was morning glory.