Jimsonweed or Purple Thorn Apple

Datura stamonium

Jimsonweed is also called purple thorn apple.  One look at the purple stems and prickly fruit of this plant will tell you why.

You’ll find it flowering in August, but you will continue to see evidence of the plant in dry, winter fields. The large, desiccated seedpods are fascinating to look at in the late afternoon light.  (See the slideshow below.)

At the height of the growing season, jimsonweed is a tall and hardy weed with large leaves that are pointed and toothed.  The substantial flowers can grow from 2 to 4 inches long and are funnel-shaped.  Turn the flower toward you and look straight down into the exotic spiral—the colors range from white to violet to magenta.  Lovely! The shape and color of the jimsonweed flower might put you in mind of horse nettle or deadly nightshade—two flowers that are also in the tomato (or Nightshade) family, but I think you’ll agree, Jimsonweed is one of the showier members of this family.

Look for the attractive flowers of Jimsonweed blooming in summer in fields and waste places–but be very careful.  The spiny leaves, the thorny fruit, and the unpleasant odor of all parts of this plant are designed to warn you that it is very poisonous to eat!

Click on any image to open the Jimsonweed gallery below.

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