Q: I spotted this small plant in my rose bed. The flower was closed during the day, but opened at night.
It currently has one blossom, but others are forming. It’s about a foot tall now. What is it?
A: It’s a datura, probably Datura alba, also known as Devil’s trumpet. In contrast to angel trumpet (Brugmansia species), which has flowers that point downward (perhaps toward hell?), devil’s trumpet has flowers that generally point upwards (towards heaven?).
The flower blossoms first, then a spiked seed ball emerges from where the flower was.
If you look carefully at the datura leaves you’ll realize they are similar to those of tomato and eggplant. All of these plants are members of the nightshade family and their stems and leaves are poisonous to a certain extent.
Farmers consider datura to be a dangerous weed because cows and horses will sometimes graze it. If you remember cowboy movies that mentioned “loco weed”, they were talking about one of the members of the nightshade family.
Enjoy or destroy – your choice!
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