Sacred Datura
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Sacred Datura
aturalized Photo: Samir Takaochi
Common name: Sacred Datura, Hairy thorn-apple, Sacred thorn apple
Botanical name: Datura wrightii    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Datura meteloides

Sacred Datura is a vigorous plant that grows 1-5 ft tall and wide. The leaves are broad and rounded at the base, tapering to a point, often with wavy margins. The flowers are the most striking feature, being sweetly fragrant white trumpets up to 20 cm (8 inches) long, often tinted purple, especially at the margin. There are five narrow points spaced symmetrically around the rim. In clear weather, flowers open at nearly full dark and wither a few hours after sunrise the following morning; in cloudy weather, they may open earlier and last longer. The seeds are borne in a spiny, globular capsule 3-4 cm in diameter, which opens when fully ripe. Sacred Datura is considered a sacred plant that has been used in sacred ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and other tribes. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother gave him a preparation of momoy to drink. This was supposed to be a spiritual challenge to the boy to help him develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Flowering: April-October.

Identification credit: Samir Takaochi Photographed in Dharuhera, Haryana.

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