Datura innoxia, often spelled inoxia, (sometimes called by the common
names pricklyburr, recurved thorn-apple, downy thorn-apple,
Indian-apple, lovache, moonflower, nacazcul, toloatzin, tolguache or
toloache) is a species in the family Solanaceae. It is rarely called
sacred datura, but this name in fact refers to the related Datura
wrightii. It is native to S.W. United States, Central and South
America, and introduced in Africa, Asia,
Australia and Europe. The
scientific name is often cited as D. innoxia. When English botanist
Philip Miller first described the species in 1768, he misspelled the
Latin word innoxia (inoffensive) when naming it D. inoxia. The name
Datura meteloides was for some time erroneously applied to some
members of the species, but that name has now been abandoned.
4 Cultivation and uses
5 Similar species
7 External links
D. innoxia with ripe, split-open fruit
Datura innoxia is an annual shrubby plant that typically reaches a
height of 0.6 to 1.5 metres. Its stems and leaves are covered
with short and soft grayish hairs, giving the whole plant a grayish
appearance. It has elliptic smooth-edged leaves with pinnate
venation. All parts of the plant emit a foul odor similar to rancid
peanut butter when crushed or bruised, although most people find the
fragrance of the flowers to be quite pleasant when they bloom at
The flowers are white, trumpet-shaped, 12–19 cm
(4.5–7.5 in) long. They first grow upright, and later
incline downward. It flowers from early summer until late fall.
The fruit is an egg-shaped spiny capsule, about 5 cm in diameter.
It splits open when ripe, dispersing the seeds. Another means of
dispersal is by the fruit spines getting caught in the fur of animals,
who then carry the fruit far from the mother plant. The seeds have
hibernation capabilities, and can last for years in the soil. The
seeds, as well as the entirety of this plant, act as deliriants, but
have a high probability of overdose.
The currently-accepted botanical name for this plant is Datura
innoxia, in spite of the fact that many references spell it Datura
inoxia. According to Tropicos, a widely-accepted authority on
botanical names, the inoxia form is due to an error originally made by
18th century taxonomist Philip Miller, and since corrected. Modern
authorities state that the inoxia form literally means "not noxious",
which certainly does not apply to the highly poisonous Datura.
On the other hand, Miller said that the "not noxious" form refers to
the soft spines on the fruit, which are in contrast to the sharp
spines on other
Datura species. (Miller refers to the ... "oval fruit,
covered with long, soft, innocent spines" ...).
All parts of
Datura plants contain dangerous levels of poison and may
be fatal if ingested by humans and other animals, including livestock
and pets. In some places it is prohibited to buy, sell or cultivate
Cultivation and uses
When cultivated, the plant is usually grown from seed, but its
perennial rhizomes can be kept from freezing and planted in the spring
of the following year.
Datura innoxia, like other
Datura species, contains the highly toxic
alkaloids atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine. The
Aztecs called the plant toloatzin, and used it long before the Spanish
conquest of Mexico for many therapeutic purposes, such as poultices
for wounds where it acts as an anodyne. Although the
Aztecs warned against madness and "various and vain imaginings", many
Native Americans have used the plant as an entheogen for
hallucinations and rites of passage. The alkaloids of these plants are
very similar to those of mandrake, deadly nightshade, and henbane,
which are also highly poisonous plants used cautiously for effective
pain relief in antiquity.
Datura intoxication typically produces a complete inability to
differentiate reality from fantasy (delirium, as contrasted to
hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly
violent behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful
photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another
commonly reported effect. There can easily be a 5:1 variation in
toxins from plant to plant, and a given plant's toxicity depends on
its age, where it is growing, and local weather conditions. These wide
Datura exceptionally hazardous to use as a drug. In
traditional cultures, users needed to have a great deal of experience
and detailed plant knowledge so that no harm resulted from using
it. Such knowledge is not widely available in modern cultures, so
many unfortunate incidents result from ingesting Datura. In the 1990s
and 2000s, the United States media contained stories of adolescents
and young adults dying or becoming seriously ill from intentionally
It has also been planted throughout the world as an ornamental plant
for its attractive large leaves, large white flowers, and distinctive
thorny fruit. However, the plant is now considered an invasive species
in several locations. For example, because of the similarity of its
life cycle to that of cotton, it is a pest in cotton fields. It is
also a potential seed contaminant.
Datura innoxia is quite similar to
Datura metel, to the point of being
confused with it in early scientific literature. D. metel is a closely
related Old World plant for which similar effects were described by
Avicenna in eleventh century Persia. The closely related Datura
stramonium differs in having smaller flowers and tooth-edged leaves,
Datura wrightii in having wider, 5-toothed (instead of 10-toothed)
Datura innoxia differs from D. stramonium, D. metel & D.
fastuosa in having about 7 to 10 secondary veins on either side of the
midrib of the leaf which anastomose by arches at about 1 to 3 mm.
from the margin. No anastomosis of the secondary veins are seen in the
other 4 major species of Datura.
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS
Database. USDA. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived
from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
^ "Jimsonweed-Nightshade Family".
^ a b c d e Preissel, Ulrike; Preissel, Hans-Georg (2002). Brugmansia
and Datura: Angel's Trumpets and Thorn Apples. Buffalo, New York:
Firefly Books. pp. 117–119. ISBN 1-55209-598-3.
Plant World Seeds".
^ Annapoorani, S. Grace (April 2013). "An Eco-Friendly Antimicrobial
Datura Innoxia and Leucas Aspera on Cotton Fabric".
International Journal of Scientific Research(IJSR). 2 (4).
Datura inoxia_Desert Thornapple_EOL".
Tropicos / Name - !
Datura innoxia Mill".
Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
^ "Catalogue of Life:
Datura innoxia P. miller". Catalogue of Life
website. Catalogue of Life. 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
^ Philip Miler. The Gardeners Dictionary: . . . eighth edition Datura
no. 5. 1768. 
^ Richard Evans Schultes (1970-01-01). "The plant kingdom and
hallucinogens (part III)". pp. 25–53. Retrieved
Datura Vault : Effects". Erowid. Retrieved 1 June
^ "Suspected Moonflower Intoxication (Ohio, 2002)". CDC. Retrieved
September 30, 2006.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Plants / animals
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Plant List: kew-2757799