Datura metel-Purple Datura

Datura metal flower on 9-23-10, #60-12

Purple Datura, Devil’s Trumpet, Horn of Plenty, Downy Thorn Apple
Datura metel
duh-TOO-ruh MET-el

Datura metel L. is the correct and accepted name of this species of Datura. It was named and first documented by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.

Datura metel seedlings on August 7, 2009, #27-54.

I had three Datura metel plants grown from seed in the spring of 2009. I kept them in pots until I gave them away when I moved to Missouri in February 2013. I didn’t realize it, but the Jimson Weed growing in the pasture is also a Datura (Datura stramonium), also known as Loco Weed. Different species of Datura grow in many parts of the world… 

 

Datura metel photo taken on 9-23-10, #60-13.

I must admit, for such a poison plant, the flowers are incredible. Funny thing is that I didn’t have to keep them in pots at all. They are probably a perennial in Leland, Mississippi but I am not 100% sure. They are hardy in USDA Zones 9a-11. They started flowering by mid-summer and continued even after I put them in the house for the winter. They do make good houseplants, but you have to keep them away from children and pets as they are highly poison. Always wash your hands after you handle them…

 

Datura metel seed pod on 12-6-10, #67-1.

 

The three Datura metel plants on 9-22-11, #80-19.

The tallest, on the left, was 38″ when this photo was taken. The middle plant measured 32″ and the smallest on the right measured 28″ tall. I was very proud of them and thought their flowers were AWESOME! I kept them inside during the winter as if I was living in Alaska.

BASIC CULTURAL INFORMATION:

The Datura metel is native to Southwestern China. They are perennial in USDA Zones 9-10 and everywhere else they can easily be grown indoors through the winter. They prefer full sun but I grew mine in part shade. If you grew them in the ground, they prefer a rich, well-drained soil with regular watering. If you grow from seed, start them 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. As they grow you will need to provide some support because they do have a tendency to sprawl a bit. 

Apparently, they do come in a variety of colors including white, yellow, lilac and dark purple. Some websites say the flowers only last one night, but I find that not to be true. In fact, it is downright impossible… One reputable website says the bud opens in the evening and last only until noon the next day. Even though it has been a few years since I had mine, I just don’t believe mine lasted only a few hours. I don’t ever remember mine closing either, and I spent a lot of time with my plants.

 

Datura metel bud on 9-15-10, #59-30.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

I was doing some yard work for a lady in Leland, Mississippi in November 2016. I came around the corner of her house in the backyard with the mower and stopped dead in my tracks. I was standing there stunned like I was frozen… I could not believe what I saw. 

That is just ONE PLANT! Here I had kept mine in pots overwinter in the sunroom. I asked her about the plant and she said she didn’t know where it came from. It just came up in the spring and she left it to see what it would do. I guess she found out!!! I was happy to have just a few flowers from mine so I couldn’t hardly believe my eyes! This photo was taken in the afternoon and the flowers are still open and looking good.

I wanted to try them here in Missouri because I know they will be just fine. I battle Jimson Weed in the pasture, though, so maybe that is enough Datura for this country boy.

I hope you find this page useful. If you have any comments to add, I would like to hear from you.

 

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