Sacred Datura or Moonflower or Jimsonweed
Full Sun; Part Shade
Spring - Fall
Sacred Datura is a gorgeous showy plant that is sometimes considered a weed because it is frequently found growing in disturbed soil like cleared roadsides and ditches. Datura grows both in an upright mound and as a ground vine habit. The huge funnel or trumpet-shaped white flower with a purple tinge opens at dusk and closes by mid-morning the following day as temperatures rise. In cloudy weather, they may open earlier and last longer. March - November the fragrant flowers(6-7” long x 5” wide) are pollinated at night by hawkmoths and bats. The leaves are large, grey-green, and velvety. The fruit is a greenish capsule covered in spines. Datura is a member of the potato (Solanaceae) family, also called the deadly nightshade family. They can cause dermatitis in those with sensitive skin. All species of datura have long been used by native peoples of the Southwest in puberty and other ceremonies because of the plant's hallucinogenic alkaloids. People trying to imitate Native American ways have often poisoned themselves, sometimes fatally. All parts of plants contain dangerous levels of anticholinergic and may be fatal if ingested by humans, livestock, or pets.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.