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P Naturalized Photo: Tabish
Common name: Datura, Pricklyburr, Recurved thorn-apple, Downy thorn-apple, Indian-apple • Hindi: सफ़ैद धतूरा Safed dhatura • Malayalam: Ummata • Manipuri: ꯁꯒꯣꯜ ꯍꯤꯗꯥꯛ Sagol hidak • Marathi: धुत्रो Dhutro • Sanskrit: धत्तूर Dhattoor, धत्तूरक Dhattooraka, धत्तूरका Dhattoorakaa, धत्तुरा Dhattura • Santali: ᱫᱷᱩᱛᱨᱟ Dhutra • Tamil: வெல்லம்மட்டை Vellum mattai, கரு ஊமத்தை Karu ūmattai
Botanical name: Datura innoxia    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Datura meteloides, Datura guayaquilensis

Datura is a perennial or annual shrubby plant that typically reaches a height of 2-5 ft. Its stems and leaves are covered with short and soft grayish hairs, giving the whole plant a grayish appearance. It has ovate to elliptic entire-edged leaves. The flowers are white, trumpet-shaped, 12-19 cm 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. Datura originated in the American Southwest and Mexico down to Belize and Guatemala. It is now naturalized in India.
Medicinal uses: In traditional medicine, it is a reputed drug in the treatment of rabid dog-bites and poisonous insect bites. The dried leaves and flowering tops are known for their narcotic and anti-spasmodic properties. They are used for the same purposes as leaves of belladonna and stramonium.

Identification credit: Shaista Ahmad Photographed in Delhi.

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