Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 26th, 2011

What the bud became

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Jimsonweed Flower 6866

In the last post I showed you a picture of a yellow bud, which I described as roughly cylindrical, about an inch and a half across by six inches long. Then I asked if you could guess what the flower would look like once it emerged. Here it is, fully unrolled, with much of the original creamy yellow turned to pure white. This is jimsonweed, Datura wrightii, which produces some of the showiest blooms we have in Texas, measuring a good six inches (15 cm) across the flared end of each fully unfurled flower.

But as beautiful as jimsonweed’s white flowers are, this is also a dangerous plant: all parts of it are toxic. Because this species of Datura is also hallucinogenic, every year there are people who ingest some form of it and get sick, and unfortunately some of them even die. But over the centuries and millennia, enough ancient and modern ingesters have lived and valued their visions for jimsonweed to have earned the alternate English names sacred datura and angel trumpet.

For more information about Datura wrightii, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in the United States where this plant grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2011 at 3:21 AM

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