Where is jimson weed found?

Top 10 Most Poisonous Plants

With pointy leaves and spiky fruit, jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) definitely looks the part of a poisonous plant. Its toothed foliage emits an unpleasant odor and branches from reddish-purple stalks, which grow to a height of 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters). The plant’s fruit is particularly wicked-looking. The green spheres, measuring about 2 inches (5 centimeters) across, are covered with long, sharp spines. Even the nectar and petals of its beautiful white or lavender trumpet-shaped flowers are dangerous. They, like the rest of the plant, are tainted with the toxins atropine and scopolamine.

European settlers in the New World quickly discovered the potency of jimsonweed, which grows throughout Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. The plant was plentiful at Jamestown, where some colonists made the mistake of having it for dinner as early as 1607. They would have experienced horrific symptoms, including dilated pupils, racing heartbeat, hallucination, delirium, aggressive behavior and possibly coma or seizures.


The plant has been linked to darker arts, like witchcraft and voodoo, because of its delirium-inducing and hallucinogenic properties. For most people, though, jimsonweed is a dangerously poisonous plant that’s best avoided completely.

Jimsonweed – a poisonous plant that may be found in or around your horse pasture

The danger of poisonous plants depends on the plant’s prevalence, toxicity and palatability. Generally speaking, horses will avoid consuming most toxic plants if other forage is available. However, the risks of plant poisoning still exists if toxic plants are present. Good pasture management practices and honing your skills to be able to identify poisonous plants are important measures to prevent plant poisonings of your horse.

Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) is a large summer annual (up to 5 feet tall) that typically emerges May through mid-June. Other common names include Jamestown weed, thorn apple, downy thornapple, devil’s trumpet, angel’s trumpet, mad apple and stinkwort.

Jimsonweed can be recognized by its distinctive tree -like shape, white to purple trumpet or funnel shaped flowers that are produced starting in June and prickly seed capsules. Photo Source: Tom Guthrie, Michigan State University Extension

Jimsonweed has long been known to be toxic all classes of livestock and to humans as well. Horses rarely consume Jimsonweed if other forage is available because of its foul odor and taste. All parts of the Jimsonweed plant are poisonous in which toxicity is caused by tropane alkaloids.

Symptoms of poisoning in horses may occur within minutes to several hours and may include: seeking water to drink, dilated pupils, agitation, increased heart rate, trembling, convulsions, coma and possibly death.

Methods for controlling Jimsonweed can range from mechanical to chemical. For chemical control options you may refer to the 2014 Michigan State University Extension Weed Control Guide for Field Crops, Table 4B – Weed Response to Herbicides in Established Forage Grasses. It is important to remember that if you choose to use a herbicide for control method, be sure to carefully read the label for grazing restrictions that may apply.

Additional resources:

Toxic plants of concern in pastures and hay for Michigan horses

MSU Weed Science

 (Datura stramonium)

Click on images to enlarge

Jimsonweed is a summer annual broadleaf plant. All of its parts, particularly the seeds, contain alkaloids and when ingested is toxic to humans and livestock. Jimsonweed is found throughout much of California to about 4900 feet (1500 m) except it is generally not found in the deserts, Klamath ranges, and higher regions of the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada. It inhabits agricultural land and managed or open disturbed places. Leaves have an unpleasant odor when slightly bruised. It is a strong competitor for water and grows rapidly.


Fields, pastures, agronomic and vegetable crop lands, orchards, vineyards, ditchbanks, livestock enclosures, roadsides and other open or unmanaged disturbed places.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are long, narrow, lance shaped and expand with age. They can grow 2/5 to 2 inches (10–50 mm) in length. The main stalk below the cotyledons is long, hairy, and usually deep violet. First true leaves are spade shaped with many veins and, at times, appear somewhat puckered. When leaves are crushed they give off an unpleasant odor.

Mature plant

Mature plants grow erect, and reach from 1-3/4 to 4 feet (52.5–120 cm) tall. Stems are coarse, often deep violet, and have branches that are mostly forked. Leaves are football to egg shaped, hairless or nearly hairless, almost 3 to 8 inches (7–20 cm) long, pucker between the veins, and have wavy-toothed to wavy-lobed edges. They are alternate to one another along the stem on stalks that are shorter than the leaf blade.


Flowers bloom from June through September. The single, showy, white, trumpet-shaped flowers are about 2 to 4 inches (5–10 cm) long, and develop in branch forks.


Fruits are egg-shaped pods that are about 1-1/2 to 2 inches (4–5 cm) long, stand erect from the forks of branches, and are covered with many stout spines. When ripe, the pod opens into four separate sections.


Seeds are tiny, roughly 1/10 of an inch (0.25 cm), brown to black, semicircular to kidney shaped, and somewhat flattened. Under magnification a wrinkled or pitted surface can be seen.


Reproduces by seed.

Related or similar plants

  • Sacred thornapple, Datura wrightii

More information

  • Broadleaf ID illustration
  • Calflora’s distribution map
  • For agriculture: UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines

Jimsonweed Control: How To Get Rid Of Jimsonweeds In Garden Areas

Nothing spoils a quiet trip through the garden quite like the sudden appearance of aggressive weeds. Although the flowers of jimsonweeds can be very beautiful, this four-foot tall (1.2 m.) weed packs with it a poisonous payload in the form of a spine-covered seedpod. Once this walnut-sized pod breaks open, control of jimsonweed becomes much more difficult.

Gardeners seeking jimsonweed information before new seeds scatter are at a distinct advantage in the battle against this beautiful, but treacherous plant.

What is Jimsonweed?

Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) is a smelly, but lovely, plant that’s native to India. It was introduced by colonists as they traveled across the country – the first settlers to notice this weed growing were at Jamestown. Several groups used the poisonous plant tissues and juices for medicinal purposes, including treating burns, coughs and as a painkiller.

But before you try it at home, be aware that this Datura plant is extremely poisonous – as little as 10 ounces of plant materials can kill livestock; humans burning or ingesting various parts of this weed have died trying.

This plant is easy to identify if you’ve seen it before, but if you haven’t, watch for thick, green to purple stems bearing deeply lobed or toothed leaves. A single purple or white, tube-shaped flower emerges from various spots near the leaf bases, expanding to reach between 2 and 4 inches (5-10 cm.) in length. Jimsonweed is known for its pungent odor and aggressive summer growth.

How to Get Rid of Jimsonweeds

Jimsonweed control can be challenging, since seeds from past seasons can be brought to the surface while tilling. These seeds remain viable for up to a century, and with each pod producing up to 800 seeds, the sheer number of potential jimsonweeds is staggering. Fortunately, these plants are summer annuals and do not reproduce from root sections.

When attempting to control jimsonweed in the lawn, regular mowing is often all that’s necessary. Once you’ve had jimsonweed on your property, it may take many seasons to kill off all the seeds, but keeping them mowed so short that they can’t produce new seeds will help you wear the stand out.

Jimsonweed in the garden may need to be pulled by hand (wear gloves), or sprayed with an herbicide, due to the alkaloids it releases from its roots – these compounds are very dangerous to many other plants. When pulling this weed, it’s normally recommended that you bag the plant and its seeds in a plastic bag for disposal. (Since seeds remain viable for such a long period, it is a good idea to allow the bag to sit for up to a year or more.)

Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied to your garden spot before planting time if jimsonweed is a yearly problem.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.

One plant of jimsonweed, commonly known as devil’s trumpet, was located in a canola field in the Municipal District of Peace.

It is toxic to humans and animals if consumed, considering that all parts of the plant, including the seeds, are poisonous.

“It can have serious implications for human and animal health,” said Krista Zuzak, the chief provincial plant health officer with Alberta Agriculture. “We want early detection, and eradication is very important to stop this spread so it’s not something we see more commonly.”


This is the first time the weed has been spotted in the Peace, but the plant has a history in the province.

In 2015, lots of it were found in several counties in the Edmonton region, Zuzak said. The occasional weed showed up in 2016 and there were no reports in 2017 or 2018, she said, until this year.

“It’s uncommon, but we are still concerned about it and it’s important to monitor,” she said.

Zuzak said the weed is usually introduced with canola seed from contaminated seed lots because the seeds of both plants look similar.

It’s important to spot and eradicate it because it would be bad for jimsonweed seeds to contaminate canola seeds at harvest, she said. The seeds are extremely difficult to remove from canola seed.

The weed has dark purple stems, deep green leaves with toothed edges, white or purple trumpet-shaped flowers, and a large and round prickly seed pod. It can tower over canola plants, so it’s noticeable in a field.


There’s an ornamental plant, called angel trumpet, that looks similar. It is usually found in farmyards, Zuzak said, whereas jimsonweed is likely spotted in cultivated fields, particularly canola.

She said if there are more sightings this year, Alberta Agriculture will try to figure out the source of the contamination.

If there is an infestation, she speculated it could be from the same contaminated seed lots that were found a few years ago. Farmers might have planted seeds this year from those contaminated lots, she said.

“If we get more reports in 2019 and have some concern about another infestation showing up through another contaminated seed lot, we need more monitoring to track it down,” she said.

If jimsonweed is spotted, Zuzak recommended farmers wear gloves and long sleeves when pulling it. It should be double bagged before it goes into the landfill.

She recommended against incinerating jimsonweed because it release toxins in the air when burned. It shouldn’t be composted, she said, in order to avoid having seed spread and reproduce the following year.


Nasar Iqbal, manager of agricultural services with the Municipal District of Peace, was called by the farmer who had the jimsonweed plant in his canola.

Iqbal said it’s important for farmers to contact their municipalities and the province about the weed if found.

“Anybody with canola should be looking for this,” he said. “We haven’t received any more reports so far, but the best way to find it is by scouting.”

The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc.

Jimsonweed is a coarse poisonous plant, growing to 5 feet high on widely forking stems that are stout, hollow, smooth (although slight hairy when young), pale green to purplish.

The leaves are alternate, with stout stalks, forming a pointed oval in outline but with the margins irregularly cut and toothed. The upper side is dark green, the underside paler. The surface is smooth with very noticeable veins. Length can be 2 to 10 inches long with pointed tips. Leaves have an unpleasant odor when crushed. Young leaves are poisonous to cattle, who will normally avoid the plant, but if mixed with other forage they may eat it. The leaf, fresh or dry is poisonous to humans.

The inflorescence is a solitary flower rising on a short stalk from a stem branch axil or from a leaf axil. Multiple flowers can occur on large plants.

The individual flowers are trumpet shaped, up to 4 inches long, with a long dusky-green calyx that is smooth but narrowly ridged or winged and has 5 pointed lobes, enclosing the flower tube for half of its length. The flowers can have a white or a light purple corolla of 5 lobes which are fused together and which flare out forming the trumpet mouth, with a small fold between each lobe and each lobes center point having a slender tooth. There are five stamens rising from the middle of the tube. Filaments and anthers are white in white flowers, purplish in purple flowers. Flowers have a spicy or lemony fragrance but are very poisonous. Flowers open in the afternoon and into the evening as they are pollinated by night flying moths.

Seed: Fertile flowers produce an inflated capsule, ovoid in shape, covered in prickles, the upper prickles longer; the entire capsule about 2 inches long, usually with four cells, which contain many dark brown wrinkled seeds. Seeds are highly poisonous and do not lose their toxicity even when dried or boiled. Both capsule and seeds are light enough to be carried away by water. The capsule splits open when mature to release the seeds, but frequently it overwinters on the plant and opens in Spring.

Toxicity and medicinal use – see text below the photos.

Habitat: Jimsonweed is an annual, reproducing from seeds. It is usually found in disturbed areas, pastures, fields and old gardens where it may have been grown for medicinal use. The root is long, thick and whitish.

Names: The genus Datura is usually listed as derived from the Hindoo Dhatura and that in turn, from an older Sanskrit, word D’hustúra, which applied to the species fastuosa found in east Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The origin of the species name – stramonium – is not settled, some writers attributing it to a Greek word for a plant known as madapple. The author name for the plant classification ‘L.’ refers to Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and the developer of the binomial nomenclature of modern taxonomy. Two older scientific names, now synonyms, are D. inermis and D. tatula.

The common name of Jimsonweed is believed to be a corruption of the older name of ‘Jamestown Weed’, which was so-named due to the poisoning of some soldiers at Jamestown in 1676 after they ate leaves of the plant.

Comparison: There are 2 species of Datura in North America that resemble D. stramonium. D. inoxia has a corolla twice as long, the calyx does not have angles, and capsules are nodding. D. wrightii has a corolla 3 times as long, the calyx does not have angles and the pods are nodding.

Taxonomy Kingdom: Plantae Phylum: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Solanales Family: Solanaceae Genus: Datura Species: D. stramonium Subspecies: D. stramonium Scientific Name Datura stramonium
L. Scientific Name Synonyms Datura stramonium var. tatula
(L.) Torr.
Common Names jimsonweed, Jamestown weed, mad apple, moonflower, stinkwort, thorn apple

Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)

Compiled by Melissa Gravesand Marjolein Schat, Montana State University from the following sources:




Identification and Life Cycle

Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) is an annual weed in the potato family (Solanaceae). Other common names for jimsonweed include common thorn apple, devil’s apple, dewtry, mad apple, moon flower, devil’s trumpet, and moonflower. The stout stems are green or purple, hollow, smooth, branching, and have inconspicuous hairs. Stems can grow up to 5 feet tall. Leaves are ovate, green to purplish in color and are coarsely serrated along the edges. The leaves appear wavy, are 3 to 8 inches long, and have an unpleasant odor when bruised. The funnel shaped flowers are while or purple with a 5-pointed corolla up to 4 inches long. Flowers grow on short stalks in the axils of branches. The four-segmented seed pods are prickly and burst open at the tip causing the seeds to scatter. Seeds are black, pitted, and kidney shaped and are poisonous. Jimsonweed has a thick and extensively branched taproot.


Jimsonweed can grow under a wide range of conditions, but does best in high nutrient soils. Jimsonweed is often found in pastures, fields, waste areas, cultivated areas, roadsides, and railroad right-of-ways.


Jimsonweed competes with desired vegetation for water and nutrients. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals.

Biology and Ecology

Jimsonweed reproduces primarily from seed, although shoots can grow from cut stems. Germination occurs in late spring and early summer. Seeds require disturbed soil to germinate. Seedlings grow quickly and shade out surrounding vegetation. Flowers appear after the plant reaches the 6-8 leaf stage (from May to September), opening at dusk and closing again the following morning. Flowers are pollinated by hawk moths and bees. Under stress it can flower and set seed at just 4 inches tall. Seeds can be spread long distances in hay, chaff, and as a seed contaminant of summer crops. Plants can produce up to 30,000 seeds that remain viable in the soil for many years.

Management Approaches

As an annual plant with long lived seeds, management should be aimed at controlling jimsonweed before seed set occurs.

Biological Control

The threelined potato beetle Lema trivittata causes severe defoliation of jimsonweed and reduces seed production. The fungus Alternaria crassa has been tested as a potential biocontrol agent. In field studies the fungus gave 90% control of jimsonweed at the 2 to 4 leaf stage.

Mechanical and Cultural Control

Small patches can be hand pulled before flowering. If pulled after flowering plant material should be removed as seeds will ripen within capsules of cut plants. Tilling readily kills seedlings. Order plants may regenerate from cut stems.

Chemical Control

In 1992, there were reports of jimsonweed resistance to Photosystem II inhibitors at several sites in Indiana. For more information on herbicide resistance in jimsonweed please see: http://www.weedscience.org/Summary/USpeciesCountry.asp?lstWeedID=75&FmCommonName=Go

Examples of herbicides that can be used to manage jimsonweed

Consult herbicide labels for additional rate, application, and safety information. Additional herbicide information can be found at http://www.greenbook.net.

Herbicide Active Ingredient trade name Mode of Action Product per Acre Application Time or Growth Stage
Imazethapyr Group 2 (Inhibition of acetolacetate synthase ALS)
*Pursuit 3-6 ounces/A Apply postemergence to seedling alfalfa in 2nd trifoliate leaf stage or larger, when jimsonweed is 1-3 inches tall.
Dry Beans and Dry Peas
Imazamox Group 2 (Inhibition of acetolacetate synthase ALS)
*Raptor 4 ounces/A Apply post-emergence prior to bloom stage but after dry beans have at least one fully expanded trifoliate leaf and dry peas have at least 3 pairs of leaves. Apply when jimsonweed is at 3 inches in height.
Grass Grown for Seed
Clopyralid; 2,4-D Group 4 (synthetic auxins)
*Curtail 2 – 4 pints/A Apply to well established grasses prior to the boot stage and when jimsonweed is actively growing.
Wheat and Barley
Clopyralid; 2,4-D Group 4 (synthetic auxins)
*Curtail 2 – 2.6 pints/A Apply in the spring to actively growing wheat or barley once 4 leaves have unfolded on the main stem and tillering has begun up to the jointing stage (first node of main stem detectable). To control or suppress listed weeds, make application after maximum emergence of the target weeds but before they exceed 3 inches in height.
Clearfield® Wheat
Imazamox ammonium salt Group 2 (Inhibition of acetolacetate synthase ALS )
*Beyond 4 – 6 ounces/A In spring wheat, apply at the 4-leaf stage prior to jointing when weeds are less than 3 inches tall. Apply to winter wheat when jimsonweed is under 3 inches tall.
Rangeland and Pasture
Dicamba Group 4 (synthetic auxins)
*Clarity 8 – 24 ounces/A Apply 8-16 ounces when plants are small and actively growing.

Apply 16-24 ounces to established weed growth.

Glypohosate Group 9 (Inhibition of EPSP synthase)
*Roundup Original Max 22-32 ounces/A Apply when jimsonweed is 12-18 inches tall.

The information herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and that listing of commercial products, necessary to this guide, implies no endorsement by the authors or the Extension Services of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Criticism of products or equipment not listed is neither implied nor intended. Due to constantly changing labels, laws and regulations, the Extension Services can assume no liability for the suggested use of chemicals contained herein. Pesticides must be applied legally complying with all label directions and precautions on the pesticide container and any supplemental labeling and rules of state and federal pesticide regulatory agencies. State rules and regulations and special pesticide use allowances may vary from state to state: contact your State Department of Agriculture for the rules, regulations and allowances applicable in your state and locality.

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Tuesday – June 21, 2011

From: Seguin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Jimsonweed and its toxic nature
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


I purchased a Jimson weed plant at a local plant sale at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center this spring and was quite surprised at how quickly & large it grew. After the first round of flowers faded (a second round is working now), my son noticed the seed pods & asked about them, so I went online to do some research. I was shocked to find out that it is considered toxic and wonder why no one at the plant sale told me this. I live in Central TX and have already read your answer on the invasiveness of the plant, but how toxic is it truely? Will it only make people sick if they eat it or can touching it also produce a reaction? Is it fatal?


Mr. Smarty Plants is sorry you got a hold of a Datura wrightii (Sacred thorn-apple) without learning of its nature; I can only expect that in the hustle & bustle of the plant sale – the topic didn’t come up. There are a number of plants in Texas that are considered toxic. This website from Texas A&M gives a list, and on the front page quotes the count of common ones as 106.

Jimsonweed is one of the more famous of those though. A description of its epidemiology in Erowid notes that “The plant has been described throughout history as a toxin famous for its mind-altering properties. There are references to it in Homer’s Odyssey, and Shakespeare’s plays: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Anthony and Cleopatra. ( Ellenhorn MJ: Medical Toxicology, Elsevier Science, NY, 1988)

Similarly, The Wikipedia entry for Datura stramonium notes use as a hallucinogen: “ Datura stramonium was used as a mystical sacrament in both possible places of origin, North America and South Asia. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva was known to smoke Datura. People still provide the small green fruit of Datura during festivals and special days as offerings in Shiva temples.”……” Aboriginal Americans in North America, such as the Algonquin and Luiseño have used this plant in sacred ceremonies”

Of course, you asked “how toxic is it truly?” This is a very difficult question and neither Mr Smarty Plants nor the Wildflower Center are in any way qualified to address that question. You must see a knowledgeable physician and/or the Texas Poison Network for expert information.

As a little bit of direction: it can be fatal. This reference from MedLinePlus describes the symptoms of Jimson weed poisoning, and this reference from the CDC describes Poisoning From a Homemade stew, happily all in the later reference survived this event. The Erowid references gives the toxins in Jimson Weed as tropane belladonna alkaloids which possess strong anticholinergic properties. They include: hyoscyamine (leaves, roots, seeds), hyoscine (roots); atropine (d,l-hyoscyamine) and scopolamine (l-hyoscine). The same article discusses toxicology. It noted the highest concentration occurred in the seeds and that near-toxic levels of these may be found in an amount on the order of 50-100 seeds. This seems more in agreement with the statement from the North Carolina Poisonous Plants Database which says for Datura stramonium that it is “Toxic only if large quantities are eaten.”

Similarly, you ask about touching versus eating. Almost all the references were about ingested material. Still, the wording in Erowid is “These toxins are easily absorbed from mucous membranes and the GI tract”. The implication is that if plant material touches a mucous membrane (or a cut) – some of the toxins could be absorbed.

Mr Smarty Plants had two other questions in the database about Jimsonweed. This question discusses its invasiveness and that this can be controlled by deadheading and this question has similar information towards side effects and dangers of Datura spp.

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If You See This Plant This Summer, Don’t Touch It

A giant hogweed plant, photographed in a garden in Leiden, The Netherlands. (debs-eye/flickr)

Giant hogweed plants are an intriguing sight when you find them in the woods, not least because they can grow up to 18 feet tall or even higher.

But you should never touch them. Their sap, when combined with moisture and sunlight, can severely irritate your eyes and skin, cause large blisters and leave behind scarring that lasts for months.

That’s what happened to 10-year-old Lauren Fuller, who was on a fishing trip with her father earlier this year when she picked up a piece of giant hogwood on the ground. Within a day, she experienced “bright red burns on her hands and cheeks, but when her parents took her to the hospital, they were told it was just a sunburn.”

The rest of her story is told in this video from YouTube:

Several reports of children suffering severe burns and blisters from giant hogweed plants have surfaced in the news in recent weeks, both here in the U.S. as well as in the U.K. Here’s how to spot the plant, and what to do if you find that you’ve brushed up against one or touched it with your hands:

What is giant hogweed and what does it look like?

Giant hogweed is a noxious weed that can grow well over a dozen feet high, with rigid stems that stretch about 2 to 4 inches across and feature dark, reddish-purple spots. The plant’s leaves can grow up to 5 feet wide, while its white flower heads can get as big as 2 1/2 feet in diameter, notes the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Giant hogweeds. (debs-eye/flickr)

The photo at right illustrates what giant hogweeds look like in the wild. They do look very similar to other plants found in forests and gardens, however, so the New York Environmental Conservation Department has provided this list of tips for identifying giant hogweeds on your own.

Where is it found?

Native to Asia, giant hogweed was introduced to Europe and the British Isles in the 19th century as an ornamental plant, and later in the 20th century made its way to the U.S. and Canada, where it is now a common sight along riverbanks, forest paths and meadows in many countries.

Generally, you’ll find the plant where there is plenty of open space with abundant sunlight and moist soil, “but it can grow in partially shaded habitats too,” the New York Environmental Conservation Department notes.

What happens if you come in contact with it?

As Wikipedia notes, “the sap of giant hogweed causes phytophotodermatitis in humans, resulting in blisters, long-lasting scars, and—if it comes in contact with eyes—blindness. These serious reactions are due to the furocoumarin derivatives in the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds of the plant.”

If you do happen to touch it or allow it to brush against your skin, here’s the recommended treatment:

“Immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and keep the area away from sunlight for 48 hours. This plant poses a serious health threat; see your physician if you think you have been burned by giant hogweed. If you think you have giant hogweed on your property, do NOT touch it,” according to the New York Environmental Conservation Department.

That, of course, explains why health and environmental agencies issue such urgent warnings against it — even brushing by the plant is enough release its sap, which can cause serious burns to your skin within 24 hours.

And if it gets in your eyes, it can cause temporary or even permanent blindness, the Independent points out — so never touch your eyes if you discover you’ve come in contact with giant hogweed.

MORE FROM WEATHER.COM: The Poisonous Jimson Weed

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Jimsonweed poisoning


Jimsonweed is a tall herb plant. Jimsonweed poisoning occurs when someone sucks the juice or eats the seeds from this plant. You can also be poisoned by drinking tea made from the leaves.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Alternative Names

Angel’s trumpet; Devil’s weed; Thorn apple; Tolguacha; Jamestown weed; Stinkweed; Datura; Moonflower

Poisonous Ingredient

Poisonous ingredients include:

  • Atropine
  • Hyoscine (scopolamine)
  • Hyoscyamine
  • Tropane alkaloids

Note: This list may not include all poisonous ingredients.

Where Found

The poison is found in all parts of the plant, especially the leaves and seeds.


Symptoms of jimsonweed poisonings can affect various body systems.


  • Little to no urine production (urine retention)
  • Abdominal pain (from urine retention)


  • Blurred vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth


  • Nausea and vomiting


  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse


  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Delirium
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache


  • Red skin
  • Hot, dry skin


  • Fever
  • Thirst

Home Care

Seek immediate medical help. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care provider.

Before Calling Emergency

Get the following information:

  • Person’s age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the plant, if known
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does not need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The provider will measure and monitor the person’s vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The person may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Breathing support
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • ECG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing)
  • Fluids by IV (through the vein)
  • Laxatives
  • Medicines to treat symptoms, including an antidote to the effects of the poison
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Symptoms last for 1 to 3 days and may require a hospital stay. Death is unlikely.

DO NOT touch or eat any plant with which you are not familiar. Wash your hands after working in the garden or walking in the woods.

Review Date: 10/16/2017
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Datura Stramonium lilac Le Fleur (Jimson Weed) – Whole Seed Pods



Datura Stramonium is perhaps the most well-known species of datura. These seeds will produce extravagant white trumpet-shaped flowers with purple throats measuring up to six inches. The flowers fall and are replaced by two-inch spiky seed pods. It can be grown indoors under lights but is generally an outdoor landscaping plant measuring up to five feet in height. In recent years, datura and the related brugmansia varieties have grown in popularity for their large and prolific blooms. These annuals are also abundant seed producers and will usually reseed themselves the following year if the seed pods and plants are left in the ground to dry out at the end of the season. Many datura varieties have been used by various medicine men throughout the world as a divination tool. They have also been used in witchcraft to create so-called flying ointments and were once used in cosmetics. There are various medicinal uses for the plant, although its extreme toxicity generally outweighs any of these benefits for it to be used practically by herbalists. Still, both atropine and scopolamine, two alkaloids present in the plant, are sometimes used in isolated form by doctors. Among the various uses of these chemicals, both cause pupil dilation and eye muscle paralysis for optometric procedures. Scopolamine is also sometimes used for the reduction of motion sickness. There are numerous reports of people suffering from madness from accidental datura ingestion. The most notable was a case in which settlers in Jamestown mistakenly used it in cooking, causing much of the town to run mad. It is from this instance that datura was given the nickname, Jimson Weed. Although the name most directly applies to Datura Stramonium, it is often used in reference to other datura varieties as well.

WARNING: Despite this plant’s beauty, all parts including the seeds contain compounds that are poisonous if ingested. Do not ingest for any reason and keep away from curious pets and children. Be careful whenever handling the see dpods because they contain very sharp spines that can even penetrate gloves.

Growing Information: Stramonium seeds tend to germinate more readily than most other species of datura. Datura seeds should be planted just below the surface of the soil (about 1/8”). They can be direct sown or transplanted after the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves. Plants will grow in almost any soil type. Although, a well-draining, nutrient-rich soil such as a mix of sand and compost will produce drastically better results with taller, wider plants that have bigger blooms and more pods. For best results, situate plants in full sun to nearly full sun. WARNING: Despite this plant’s beauty, all parts including the seeds contain compounds that are poisonous if ingested. Do not ingest for any reason and keep away from curious pets and children.

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If you have a recently cleared area on your property or in your neighborhood, there’s an excellent chance that jimson weed is blooming there right now. The good news is that it’s one of more interesting species in one of the most remarkable plant families. The bad news is that it’s one of the most toxic and potentially lethal plants in the flora of the Smokies region.

Jimson weed (“Datura stramonium”) belongs to the nightshade family, which includes among its members such familiar garden vegetables and ornamentals as petunias, potatoes, tomatoes, green and red peppers, and eggplants. On the darker side of the family’s genealogy are the numerous members containing narcotic and sometimes poisonous alkaloids: tobacco, belladonna, horse nettle, bittersweet vine, enchanter’s nightshade, jimson weed, and others.

In this region there are five nightshade genera, containing 11 species. In addition to jimson weed, these include apple-of-Peru, ground cherry, several nightshades, and horse nettle.

The yellow, tomato-like berry enclosed in the inflated, lantern-like seedpod of the ground cherry is toxic when green but sometimes harvested and made into jams or pies when ripe. Caution should be exercised. I no longer pop ripe ground cherries into my mouth during fall outings as I once did. And I don’t think I’d ask for another slice of ground-cherry pie either.

As for jimson weed, I won’t even touch it up with my bare hands these days, now that I know more about its properties and history. I regard the stout three- to six-foot tall plant — which displays large irregularly-lobed, purple-tinged leaves and funnel-shaped flowers — from a distance, according it the same respect reserved for copperheads, rattlesnakes, and amanita mushrooms.

The white or pale violet flowers are about four inches long, having an open end that flares into pointed lobes and a closed end at the stem covered by a green angular sleeve. These are the lushly ominous flowers Georgia O’Keefe immortalized in at least four of her out-sized floral studies. Jimson weed grew near her home in New Mexico. In one of these studies, she placed the four flowers in a design that repeated the tight rhythm of the pinwheel-shaped blossoms, and she highlighted the beauty of the flowers by depicting them using a light, simplified palette of colors.

“When I think of the delicate fragrance of the flowers, I almost feel the coolness and sweetness of the evening,” O’Keefe said. It’s probable that she also knew about the dark side of the plant’s history and lore, but she didn’t bother to mention them to the patron in New York City who commissioned the painting.

Since the fruit of jimson weed is a spiny ball about two inches in diameter, the plant is also called thorn apple. In late fall this pod splits open, revealing four compartments in which there are numerous black seeds. As might be expected, these seeds are the most potent part of the plant. Cattle and sheep have died after grazing on jimson weed leaves and fruit. And the deaths of humans who have devoured the seeds, especially children and old people, are recorded throughout the literature about the plant.

The dried leaves — marketed as stramonium — have long been used as cigarettes or other inhalant forms in the treatment of asthma as an antispasmodic. This use apparently encouraged people to experiment with the seeds, which contain potentially lethal doses of several alkaloids.

Authorities differ on the origins of the plant, but it was apparently introduced into America at a very early date. The settlers of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement (1607) in the New World, brought the plant with them and it thrived along the Virginia coastline. In 1676, the uprising known as Bacon’s Rebellion took place as a result of governor William Berkeley’s refusal to commission an army to protect the Virginia frontiersmen from Indians and other grievances. Nathaniel Bacon raised an unauthorized army against which the governor sent his troops.

Near Jamestown many of the governor’s ill-equipped, famished soldiers devoured the thorny fruits of a plant growing in profusion thereabouts and promptly died. Shortly thereafter, Bacon himself, aged 29, died suddenly “of a mysterious fever called the ‘Bloodie Flux.’” Some historians have conjectured that he, too, may have eaten the same fruits.

Thereafter, the plant was known as “Jamestown weed” — a designation that in time became “jimson weed.” By any name, it has a long and lethal history.

George Ellison wrote the biographical introductions for the reissues of two Appalachian classics: Horace Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders and James Mooney’s History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. In June 2005, a selection of his Back Then columns was published by The History Press in Charleston as Mountain Passages: Natural and Cultural History of Western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains. Readers can contact him at P.O. Box 1262, Bryson City, N.C., 28713, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ontario police warn of jimson weed dangers

Police in London, Ont., recently asked gardeners to destroy seed pods on any jimson weeds on their properties. The request came after at least 5 local teenagers ingested the seeds in pursuit of a cheap, legal high. For all of the teens, the trips ended in hospital. One 14-year-old spent a night in intensive care, drifting in and out of consciousness and hallucinating; 6 staff members were needed to restrain him.

The nearby communities of Brampton, Midland, Waterloo and Hamilton have experienced similar problems in the past 2 years, and similar poisonings have also been reported in Quebec. A year ago, the US National Clearing-house for Alcohol and Drug Information reported that jimson weed poisonings were on the increase among teens.

Detective-Constable Steve Cochrane of the London Police said the plant is not covered under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, but ought to be. “It’s very dangerous,” he said. “There’s a sense of abuse, an element of danger.” London Police intend to lay charges if sellers misrepresent the seeds as another drug. FIGURE


Jimson weed (Datura stramonium) is also known as devil’s apple, fireweed, stinkweed and stinkwort. It is both a potent hallucinogen and highly toxic. According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of poisoning may include dry mucous membranes, thirst, difficulty swallowing and speaking, blurred vision and photophobia, followed by hyperthermia, confusion, agitation, combative behaviour, urinary retention, seizures and coma. As one cliché-loving nursing supervisor told the Salt Lake Tribune last year: “They are red as a beet, dry as a bone, blind as a bat and mad as a hatter.”

All parts of the plant are poisonous, although the highest concentrations of the anticholinergic agent are found in the seeds (typically equivalent to 0.1 mg of atropine per seed.) A student hospitalized last month in London reported ingesting just 1 seed.

Recreational users may ingest seeds or prepare jimson-based tea or cigarettes. The plant is also used in folk medicine to make topical salves and poultices. Some teens learn how to use the plant through Web sites and news-groups. However, most news-groups accessed by CMAJ described it as a bad trip. “The high lasts about 36 to 48 hours,” said one. “It will allow you to do very stupid and dangerous things.”

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