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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday -- August 2013 Datura inoxia

The Datura inoxia 'Evening Fragrance' that I grew from seed this year are flowering. I noticed two of them that were really getting big and close to flowering and figured that when the sun went down and it got dark they would open. And they did!

Datura are called Moonflower because they open at night, and are so big and bright I could see them from across the garden even without a flashlight.

The bud has just a touch of lavender, which disappears once the flower opens fully.

The flower is about 7 inches wide from edge to edge

Datura are also called devil's trumpets, because they face upward, like devils blowing a trumpet. Brugmansias are known as angel's trumpets, because they face downward. The two are related, and both come from central and South America, where they are considered wildflowers. Datura flowers only open for one night and I could only pick up the scent if I poked my nose right into the flower, unlike Brugmansia flowers, which stay open for several days and develop a very strong, lovely scent that often wafts all over the garden. These two remained open all day on a very cloudy day, but the first one that opened over a week ago had collapsed by dinnertime. They're not pretty plants, being large and sprawling, but I do like the big velvety leaves.

Still open mid-afternoon the next day

Today's flower after our recent summer rain

There are double-flowered Datura as well, and they come in other colors, most notably purple. I'm going to try growing some double purple ones from seed next year. They were so easy to grow from seed that I'll probably just start more next year rather than try to over-winter them inside (I have too many plants that will all be crowding around my single south-facing window inside all winter, desperate for a little light). Another common name for Datura is thornapple, because the seedpod that develops after the flower is pollinated is round and prickly. They are pollinated by night-flying sphynx moths, which are a hummingbird imitator, but honeybees and other daytime insects have been known to burrow into them before they open.

Incipient seedpod
Datura inoxia is an herbaceous perennial grown as an annual, hardy to Zone 9. Mine are growing in pots in the gravel garden area, next to my Brugmansias and Agaves, and also on the front porch, both west-facing sites that get lots of sun and radiated heat from gravel and concrete. Like the Brugs, they need constant watering to perform their best. They are in the Solanaceae family, like tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant, but they are absolutely not for ingestion, containing dangerously toxic amounts of atropine, scopolamine and hydroscyamine.

Four more flowers on the way
Wildflower Wednesday occurs on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Check out Gail Eichelberger's blog clay and limestone here, the host for Wildflower Wednesday, where she is posting today about blue mist flower. Plenty of other bloggers will be posting about wildflowers too! Check them out.


  1. Beautiful. We have tried three different types before, D. metel, D. ceratocaula, D. wrightii. We've only gotten D. metel to bloom. They are tough to germinate. If you are interested in them, you can get several other species at J.L. Hudson seeds.

  2. My grandmother had these in her garden...and I'm assuming they must have reseeded themselves, because they returned every year in the same spot (this was Nebraska...where they were definitely NOT hardy)! I remember being amazed at the enormous, white flowers...they seemed so exotic to this simple country boy :-)

  3. That is so pretty. At first glance on my reader, I thought it was a flower made from a satin ribbon. My neighbor in Vancouver, has a yard full of many lovely plants just like you do. She has several large ones that look like this but I believe she calls them angel trumpets, or something on that order.

    I have some little plants coming up in a pot that I put some of those seeds that you gave me. I will have to take a photo when they get a little bigger and see if you can tell me what you think they are..I forgot to mark them. Hopefully you won't report that they are just 'weeds' haha. xo

  4. Your photos are gorgeous. I'm growing Datura wrightii but it has yet to produce any flowers, so thanks for letting me live vicariously. :)

  5. Interesting plant. The whorled buds are amazing, and I like the delicate lavender color. The felted leaves are attractive too.

  6. Daturas grow so huge and lush here that I haven't planted any in several years. I might have to plant a Jimson Weed somewhere. Wonder where I put those seeds!

  7. This looks a lot like the Jimson weed that I have seen growing wild in the American Southwest. I looked it up - that one is Datura stramonium, famously painted by Georgia O'Keeffe.

  8. Someone else recently posted about Moonflowers, and I thought it would be a fun plant to try. I really like the shape of the closed flower. Great post!

  9. I think it looks its best when it's just about to open, looks elegant!

  10. I got moonflower seeds from my grandmother in West Virginia and planted them for the first time this year (I live in coastal Virginia). They are just now starting to bloom and are so pretty. I discovered that there's more than one kind of plant called "moonflower," so I had to do some digging to find out that what I have is Datura inoxia, just like yours. Thanks for posting your pictures and interesting facts!! :)

  11. Love the subtle colors of this pretty...That first photo is wonderful! xogail

  12. What a beautiful flower in such a unique shape...just lovely!!


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