Encyclopedia Article

Jimsonweed                          Datura stramonium L.

Family:  Solanaceae (Nightshade family)
Life cycle:   Annual   
Native status: Introduced, believed to originate in South America      
Habitat:   Pastures, waste areas

General description:  Erect plant, 3 – 5 ft tall.  Leaves are hairless, ovate, up to 8” long, margins unevenly dentate.  Stem smooth, often reddish purple in color.  Crushed leaves emit unpleasant odor.  Large (4 in long), white funnel shaped flower.  Fruit is a large, cylindrical, thorny capsule.

Key ID traits:  Glabrous, dark green leaves with large, irregular teeth; strong, unpleasant odor when plant parts are crushed.

Similar species:  Moonflower/white devil's trumpet is a cultivated Datura spp. producing large white flowers up to 10 inches long..

Miscellaneous:  All parts of the plant are highly toxic.  Many teenagers have been killed trying to use the plant for its hallucinogenic properties.  Jimsonweed used to be common in hoglots when swine were raised outdoors since the pigs wouldn’t consume the jimsonweed.  Sometimes called thornapple due to the spiny fruit.  Name originates from Jamestown weed, due to the plant being used to poison British soldiers near Jamestown, VA in mid-1600s.

Weed ID Factsheet Index

Cotyledons are long (up to 2"), slender and taper to a point.

Jimsonweed weeds are glabrous with triangular shape and irregular dentate margin.

Jimsonweed produces large, funnelform flower that ranges from white to lavender.


Jimsonweed is also called thornapple due to the large, spined seed capsule.