Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 28th, 2011

Jimsonweed thorn apple

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Jimsonweed fruit; click for greater detail.

For the past three days you’ve seen stages in the development of the toxic plant known colloquially as jimsonweed and scientifically as Datura wrightii:

an end-on view of a bud beginning to unroll;

a fully open, trumpet-shaped flower;

the plant’s strange fruit as it begins to form.

And now you get to see what the plant’s forbidding fruit looks like when it matures. Some have called this a thorn apple, and that seems appropriate for such a prickly globe. I don’t know if this one has split open of its own accord or if something external has broken into it in spite of its formidable defenses, but the hole conveniently lets you see what the seeds inside look like. Note that the mature thorn apple has turned downward, which is the opposite orientation from that of the fruit in its early stage that you saw last time.

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 28, 2011 at 5:25 AM

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