164 Datura inoxia var. quinquecuspidaCommon Names: devil's trumpet, downy thornapple, toloache, angel's trumpet, Family: Solanaceae (nightshade Family)
Angel's trumpet is a herbaceous perennial with a sprawling, mounded habit, up to 3 ft (0.9 m) high and 6 ft (0.6 m) across. The spectacular white or pale lavender, trumpet-shaped flowers are 8 in (20 cm) long and 6 in (15 cm) across, and held erect. They are pleasantly fragrant and form all summer, each opening in the early evening and lasting until noon the next day. The leaves are coarse and foul smelling, up to 10 in (25 cm) long and 4 in (10 cm) wide. The fruits are spiny, round capsules containing hundreds of seeds that look like tomato seeds. The related annual, horn-of-plenty (Datura metel), is also grown as an ornamental. Its cultivars have white, yellow, blue, and dark purple flowers, while some even have double or triple blooms. Jimsonweed (D. stramonium), also an annual, has smaller, violet flowers. Brugmansia suaveolens is a shrub or small tree with larger, pendant flowers, and is also called angel's trumpet. Another good reason we use botanical names!
This angel's trumpet, Datura inoxia subsp. quinquecuspidae, is native to the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, where it grows in well-drained soils. Horn-of-plenty is native to China and jimsonweed is a North American native.
CultureLight: Part sun to full sun. Moisture: Drought tolerant and thrives in a wide variety of well drained soils, but is most impressive when grown in rich, well-manured loams. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 10. In Zones 8 and 9, usually survives the winter underground and sprouts anew in the spring. In cooler climates (Zones 5-7), can be grown as an annual from seeds started indoors, or the root can be dug in the fall and kept indoors until spring. Propagation: Seeds or root divisions.
Since prehistory, angels trumpet and other species of Datura have been cultivated for a variety of medicinal, hallucinogenic and religious uses. More recently it has been used as an ornamental. This is a rather ungainly, sprawling plant with a coarse texture. It is best used in background plantings or adjacent to structures. Give them plenty of room!
Angel's trumpets are pollinated by night-flying sphinx moths, which look and act like small hummingbirds. But honey bees and other insects are attracted to the sweet flowers too, and often manage to squeeze into them before they have opened. Alkaloids derived from angel's trumpet are used as antidotes to poisoning by pufferfish, nerve gas and organophosphate pesticides.
Devil's Trumpet Blooming
I took a time-lapsed video of devil's trumpet flowers blooming. Each second of video is equivalent to 1 minute of real time - they open over a 35 minute period right at nightfall.
The leaves and seeds of angel's trumpet, horn-of-plenty, and jimsonweed are sources of several alkaloidal drugs, some of which have narcotic properties. They are poisonous to people as well as to cattle, horses and sheep. Some local communities have banned the cultivation of Datura species.
Steve Christman 06/04/97; updated 8/4/03, 4/5/05, 10/25/07, 7/19/09