Saturday, May 9, 2015

National Wildflower Week - Datura Wrightii

I'm celebrating National Wildflower Week by highlighting a wildflower surprise in my garden this spring, the datura wrightii (aka Angel Trumpet, Jimsonweed, Thorn-apple).

I was surprised to find this plant growing in my decomposed granite pathway.  I guess it makes sense, since the plant prefers good drainage.  I actually saw the little plant earlier this spring and considered pulling it numerous times, but thought it looked interesting enough, so I let it go to see what it would turn out to be.  I'm glad I left it alone.

I was mostly surprised to find the wildflower growing because I haven't seen any of these types of flowers around my neighborhood, so I'm curious how it got into my garden.  Most likely from some bird.  I'm thankful for the new (and free) plant addition to my garden.

The datura has white, trumpet-shaped flowers that opening in the evening and wither by mid-morning.

The bloom buds almost look like little okra veggies...but DO NOT EAT THEM!  This entire plant is poisonous!  It is considered a narcotic that was used for medicinal purposes by Aztecs, but when prepared improperly is lethal.  Thankfully, my dogs do not show any interest in eating anything in the garden besides grass (and little critters), so I'll be keeping this in the garden, for now.

The stems are a beautiful, velvety purple.

 The datura is an annual that grows to 3-6 feet.  I'm hoping it stays closer to the 3 foot size, so that it doesn't completely overtake my garden path.

When the blooms open at night, it is a very fragrant plant.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center describes it as a "rank-smelling plant."  I have to say I disagree.  While very pungent, I find the fragrance very lovely.

Enjoying the last of the bloom before it wilts in the morning light...

The seed pods are interesting spiky little balls.  As I understand it, they are full of many seeds that reseed very easily.  However, it seems I'll have to wait until early fall once the seeds are ready to collect.  I'd love to put this plant in some other places in my garden and preferably out of the pathway.

 What's your favorite wildflower in your garden right now?  Happy National Wildflower Week!


  1. Isn't it amazing just how spectacular some wildflowers are? I'd say you were quite lucky to have this one turn up in your path! I've actually seen some wild ones around here in the nearby wash, but I won't be growing any as my dog will definitely try all sorts of things...!

  2. wow Rebecca, thank you for posting this flower, I am sitting with a big grin, you see nearly 19 years ago in 1996 I camped at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and this amazing flower opened in the evening, I have just got out my photo album to check it is the same and yes it is, my aunt and cousins in the US didn't know what it was when shown the photo and this is the first time I have seen it since, it is so lovely I hope you get to grow many seeds from it, how wonderful to have it chose your garden, thank you, Frances

  3. I have just realised in my excitement I forgot to say what my favourite native flower is in my garden now, it is the native primrose, Primula vulgaris, it was in this garden when I moved here having survived years of neglect and an overgrown garden (the house had been empty for 3 years), it self seeds around and I either leave or move to another location, it was also one of my fathers favourite flowers, Frances

  4. I love datura! I finally figured out a spot last year and it's come back for this year, though mine hasn't bloomed yet. It's amazing what you'll find in your granite walkway--some good, some not-so-good, but it'll be an adventure! Beautiful photos!

  5. What a great gift the birds gave you. I have two spots (so far) where Datura are coming back. I'm looking forward to seeing where else you choose to try your seedlings out when that time comes. I think the blooms are breathtaking!

  6. I have one tiny plant grown from seed. I will soon transfer it to a larger pot and hope it grows up to be as lovely as your volunteer.