Datura stramonium (jimsonweed)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Datura stramonium L. (1753)
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Datura inermis Juss. ex Jacq
- Datura pseudostramonium Sieb. Bernh. Tromms 1933
- Datura stramonium var. tatula (L.) Torr. 1824
- Datura stromonium var. chalybea W.D.J. Koch, nom. illeg.
- Datura tatula L. (1762)
- Stramonium vulgatum Gart. Fruct. et Sem. 1791
International Common Names
- English: common thornapple; devils trumpet; jamestown-weed; mad-apple; stinkwort
- Spanish: belladona del pobre; cajon del diablo; chamico grande; chamisco; datura manzana; estramonio; manzana espinosa; peo de fraille
- French: belladone; conchombre diable; concombre a chein; datura stramonie; herbe des taupes; pomme epineuse; stramonie commune
- Arabic: datoora; tatoora
- Portuguese: estramanonio; figueira do inferno; figueire do inferno; quinquilho
Local Common Names
- Bhutan: dhaturo; nyangmo-throkchang
- Brazil: bem casado; estrasmónio; mamoninha brava; mata zombando; sia branca; trombeteira; zabumba
- Cuba: campana; chamico
- Germany: Stechapfel
- Indonesia: kecubung lutik; kecubung wulung
- Italy: indormia; stramonio comune
- Japan: shirobanachosenasagao
- Lebanon: daturah; nafir
- Netherlands: Doornappel
- Norway: piggeple
- Poland: bielun dziedzierzawa
- South Africa: bloustinkolie; doringapple; gewone; iloqi; lechoe; lethsowe; makolieboom; makstinkblaar; makstinkolie; malpitte; olieblaar; olieblaarneut; olieneut; pietjielaporte; steekappel; stinkblaar; umhlavuthwa; zaba-zaba
- Sweden: spikklubba
- Thailand: lampong
- Zimbabwe: chowa
- DATSL (Datura stramonium var. tatula)
- DATST (Datura stramonium)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The following summary is from Witt and Luke (2017):
Annual herb (0.5–2 m tall); stems green, purple or brown, hairy to hairless; single stem divides into two branches, both of which again divide into two branches as they grow, and so on.
Unclear, but probably tropical America.
Reason for Introduction
Ornament and accidentally as a contaminant.
Roadsides, railways, disturbed land, wasteland, fallow land, crops, managed pasture, drainage ditches, woodland edges/gaps, lowlands, gullies and dry riverbeds.
Competes aggressively with native plants and crops, forming dense monospecific stands. Infestations in the USA have resulted in a 56% yield loss in cotton. Yields of soybean plants growing within a distance of 1.2 m from a thorn apple plant are significantly reduced demonstrating the allelopathic impacts of this weed. In Spain, competition from thorn apple in irrigated maize has reduced yields by 56%. D. stramonium is also an alternative host for several pests and pathogens of solanaceous crops. Toxic to people, horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens thorn apple has gained notoriety as a plant that is used by people to commit suicide.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Solanales
- Family: Solanaceae
- Genus: Datura
- Species: Datura stramonium
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page The genus name Datura is derived from dhatura, the Bengali name for the plant, while the epithet stramonium combines the Greek word strychnos for nightshade, and makinos meaning mad, referring to the narcotic properties of the species. Until relatively recently it had been customary to distinguish between the white-flowered D. stramonium and the purple-flowered D. tatula. However, chemotaxanomic studies have confirmed that these are both forms of D. stramonium (Haegi, 1976; Hadkins et al., 1997). Variants of D. stramonium have been described with 2n = 12, 25, 26, 36 or 48 chromosomes. Morphological variants include: var. tatula which has purple flowers and sub-equal spines on the capsule; var. stramonium, with white flowers and shorter spines on the lower part of the fruit; and var. inermis which has a spineless capsule. Adzet et al. (1979) reported that morphological differences between var. inermis and var. tatula in Spain are not reflected in amino acid and alkaloid variation patterns. However, differences in stomatal number and locations of protective and glandular hairs have been reported between specimens of var. stramonium and a further form, var. godronii in Italy (Circosta et al., 1982).
DescriptionTop of page D. stramonium is a rank-smelling, erect, bushy annual herb, 0.5 to 2 m tall with glabrous, green to purplish, stout stems. The roots may be shallow and extensively branched, but in some soils a stout, branched peg-like taproot with extensive stringy lateral roots can develop.
In the seedling stage, the first true leaves are ovate with pointed tips and few or no lobes. In later stages the leaves, which have an unpleasant smell when crushed, are alternate, ovate to broadly triangular, glabrous, unevenly toothed, 5-25 cm long, 4-25 cm wide, on a petiole and up to 10 cm long.
Flowers are usually borne erect on short peduncles in the axils of branches. The tubular calyx is 3 to 5 cm long with five unequal teeth, 3-10 mm long. The 5-lobed white or purplish corolla is tubular or trumpet-shaped, 5-10 cm long, fetid, with 5 stamens of equal length attached to the corolla near the base, and a long style with a 2-lobed stigma. The fruit is an ovoid, erect capsule, 3.5-6.5 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, opening by four valves and densely covered with more or less equal spines up to 15 mm long, rarely smooth. The numerous seeds are dark brown to black, flat, kidney-shaped with an irregularly pitted surface, 3-4 mm long, 2-3 mm wide.
DistributionTop of page From probable origins in the tropical regions of Central and South America, D. stramonium has become a cosmopolitan weed in the warm regions of North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand. It is now found throughout almost all the USA except for the north-west and northern great plains. It was recorded in Virginia, USA, by 1676, where it's seed was used as a narcotic by British soldiers. Although it had been collected in Quebec and Ontario in the late 1800s, it was not until the 1950s that D. stramonium started to appear as a weed in cultivated fields of Canada (Weaver and Warwick, 1984). It was also noted in Australia by the early years of the 19th century (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page Species of Datura have been spread around the world as contaminants of agricultural seed; Parsons and Cuthbertson (1992) quote the example of introduction of D. stramonium into parts of Victoria, Australia, in contaminated safflower seed. Contaminated soyabeans have resulted in new infestations of D. stramonium in Norway on several occasions. It is particularly difficult to separate from sorghum seed, which is of a similar size. Seed inspection and certification agencies should therefore be vigilant when batches of seed for planting are imported from areas where species of Datura species are known to occur. Legislation in Queensland, Australia, prohibits the sale of crop seed which is contaminated by D. ferox or D. stramonium (Genn, 1987).
HabitatTop of page Thornapples are principally found in warm-temperate and subtropical regions, in open situations on fertile soils. Although they favour regions with plentiful rainfall, they can also survive on sandy pastures. They are therefore aggressive colonizers of agricultural fields and compete strongly in summer crops in many parts of the world. They are also found on the sites of abandoned cattle yards and on river flats. D. stramonium grows at sea level, but has also been recorded at 2750 m in the Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim (Holm et al., 1997).
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page D. stramonium is very widely distributed in temperate and tropical areas and is likely to be found in almost any summer crop. Indeed, Holm et al. (1997) state that it has been reported as a weed in more than 40 crops in almost 100 countries.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Ananas comosus (pineapple)||Bromeliaceae||Main|
|Beta vulgaris (beetroot)||Chenopodiaceae||Main|
|Glycine max (soyabean)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Gossypium hirsutum (Bourbon cotton)||Malvaceae||Main|
|Hordeum vulgare (barley)||Poaceae||Main|
|Manihot esculenta (cassava)||Euphorbiaceae||Main|
|Medicago sativa (lucerne)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Pisum sativum (pea)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)||Poaceae||Main|
|Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Solanum tuberosum (potato)||Solanaceae||Main|
|Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)||Poaceae||Main|
|Triticum aestivum (wheat)||Poaceae||Main|
|Vitis vinifera (grapevine)||Vitaceae||Main|
|Zea mays (maize)||Poaceae||Main|
Biology and EcologyTop of page D. stramonium is an annual and overwinters or passes through dry seasons only as seed. It is a day-neutral plant and will flower in photoperiods of 6-8 hours (Holm et al., 1997). Although vigorous, isolated plants may produce 30,000 or more seeds, plants growing at high density will yield an average of 1300-1500 seeds (Weaver and Warrick, 1984). Mature seeds are dispersed by dehiscence from dry capsules up to a distance of 1-3 m (Conklin, 1976), a process which is aided when plants are disturbed by harvesting equipment.
Seeds of D. stramonium are long lived, 91% surviving 39 years burial at 34 cm in one experiment (Toole and Brown, 1946), although decay is faster when seeds are in upper layers (2.5 to 10 cm) of the soil (Stoller and Wax, 1974). Although D. stramonium seed from many locations around the world will germinate immediately upon maturing, they appear to develop an impermeable seed coat which imposes dormancy for at least several months if not longer. Removal of the seed coat allows germination (Gill, 1938; Martin, 1943.) Dormant seeds require an after-ripening period before they will germinate. During this period the response to light and temperature alternation increases according to the dormancy level of the particular population (Reisman-Berman et al., 1988). Alternating temperatures within the range of 20-35°C give optimum conditions for germination. In studies using D. ferox, Miguel and Soriano (1974) demonstrated that breakage of dormancy is related to the vapour pressure around the seed during after-ripening. Good aeration is needed for the process to proceed, so germination of otherwise dormant seed could be achieved following exposure to water vapour at 20°C for 3-4 weeks. If seeds absorb liquid water, germination rates are lower, possibly due to poor oxygen diffusion through the seed coat. Burial of seeds in the soil can affect the germination response to light, although published results are not unequivocal. Stoller and Wax (1974) reported that D. stramonium seed buried for 12 months developed an absolute light requirement for germination in only some seasons. In D. ferox, phytochrome-induced cellulase activity leads to endosperm softening and germination in the presence of light (Sanchez et al., 1986; Botto et al., 1998). Exposure of seed to light during cultivation will therefore stimulate germination.
D. stramonium grows better in neutral than in acidic soils (Buchanan et al., 1975) and is responsive to P and K (Hoveland et al., 1976). The weed is commonly found thriving around farm buildings, livestock yards and abandoned cattle pens, suggesting that it would be responsive to N fertilization under field conditions. However, this has not been shown to be the case in field experiments (Holm et al., 1997).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page Many of the organisms which damage species of Datura are also important pests or diseases of crops (see section on Economic Importance). Despite a considerable amount of research into the biocontrol potential of a number of fungi, particularly species of Alternaria, none are currently being used in weed control programmes.
ImpactTop of page As a weed in more than 100 countries, D. stramonium is considered by Holm et al. (1997) to be more widespread than even Cyperus rotundus which is ranked as the world's worst weed. Crop losses due to competition from D. stramonium depend on the crop and climatic conditions. Season-long competition resulted in 56% yield loss in cotton in the USA, but only 16% in the case of a more competitive soyabean crop (Oliver et al., 1991). Even sparse populations can be damaging with individual plants reducing the yield of soyabean plants growing within a distance of 1.2 m (Henry and Bauman, 1991). Reductions in the yield of irrigated maize by 56% due to season-long competition from D. stramonium have been reported in Spain by Torner et al. (1995). At a density of 3-11 plants per m², yields of directly-seeded tomatoes may be reduced by 26-71% (Monaco et al., 1981).
D. stramonium serves as an alternate host for several pests and pathogens of Solanaceous crops; an extensive listing can be found in Weaver and Warrick (1984). Some of the more important include Manduca sexta, Phthorimaea operculella (tobacco leaf miner in Australia, North America and South Africa), species of Alternaria and Cercospora (leaf spots and pod blights), Phymatotrichopsis omnivora and Macrophomina phaseolina (charcoal rot of maize and soya). The species is also a susceptible host to more than 60 viruses.
Trophane alkaloids produced by D. stramonium and related species are poisonous to humans, horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962) so it is important to prevent contamination of feed grains by seeds of these weeds. Due to the difficulty and expense of separating the seed from sorghum grain, contaminated samples of the crop may be downgraded or rejected by buyers in Australia (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). Livestock normally avoid eating species of Datura unless other vegetation is unavailable, but may be poisoned by ingesting it as a contaminant of hay, silage or seed screenings (Hightower, 1979).
UsesTop of page Species of Datura have been used in many parts of the world as narcotics, constituents of folk remedies and as a source of atropine, hyoscamine and hyoscine alkaloids for pharmacological use in both human and veterinary medicine (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). There has also been considerable interest in the use of extracts of Datura species as botanical pesticides. D. metel, for example, appears to suppress a number of nematode species of economic importance (Oduor Owini, 1993).
Uses ListTop of page
Drugs, stimulants, social uses
- Miscellaneous drugs, stimulants and social uses
- Host of pest
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page In addition to D. stramonium, a number of other species of Datura have been reported as weeds in various parts of the world. In Australia, for example, the native D. leichhardtii and four naturalized species, D. ferox, D. inoxia, D. metel, and D. wrightii are all classed as noxious weeds in at least part of the country (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
As in D. stramonium, the capsule of D. ferox is carried erect on a straight stalk, but has up to 60 stout spines compared with the 100 or more in D. stramonium. The flowers of D. ferox, at up to 6 cm long, are somewhat smaller than those of D. stramonium. D. ferox has also been reported to be a weed problem in Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Lesotho, Uruguay, South Africa and Zimbabwe (Holm et al, 1979; Mienis, 1982; Wells et al., 1986). It is cultivated as an ornamental and is locally naturalized in Mediterranean regions of France, Spain, Italy and Sicily (Moore, 1972).
D. inoxia, of North American origin, is a pubescent perennial; flowers 10-12-lobed and has entire or only slightly toothed leaf margins. It has a capsule borne on a curved stalk, which does not dehisce by regularly-sized valves. It is found in Egypt, Canada, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Yemen and throughout the Lesser Antilles (Hepper, 1963; Alva, 1973; Chaudhary and Revri, 1983; Weaver and Warwick, 1984; Wells et al., 1986; Chaudhary and Akram, 1987; Boulos and El-Hadidi, 1995). It has also been reported from Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Shandong and Xinjang provinces of China (Wu and Raven, 1994). In Europe, the species is naturalized in Mediterranean areas of France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Sardinia and Sicily (Moore, 1972).
D. fastuosa also has nodding capsules which dehisce irregularly, leaves entire and flowers 5-10-lobed.
D. metel is similar to D. inoxia in habit, but is glabrous and has very short spines or tubercles on the capsule. D. metel has been reported from Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia (Java), Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey and USA (Hepper, 1963; Backer, 1973; Holm et al., 1979; Wells et al., 1986; Robertson, 1989; Tropicos, 1998). In China, it is found in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Yunnan Provinces and Taiwan (Wu and Raven, 1994). Although it is frequently cultivated as an ornamental, most reports of it as a naturalized species in the Mediterranean region of Europe appear to refer to D. inoxia (Moore, 1972).
Prevention and ControlTop of page Cultural Control
Isolated thornapple plants should be hand-pulled before they set seed, whereas larger areas of infestation are readily controlled by tillage when weeds are in the seedling stage. Cultivation becomes less effective as plants mature, because stems become woody and roots may not be completely severed. Seedlings emerge over a long period of time so repeated cultivations may be necessary to reduce the level of infestation (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). Post-harvest tillage may promote seed survival as seeds decay more rapidly on the soil surface than when buried (Stoller and Wax, 1974) and there is greater loss of seed to predators under no-till than conventional tillage systems (Brust and House, 1988).
D. stramonium is susceptible to a range of soil- and foliar-applied herbicides which are commonly used for selective broadleaf annual weed control. These include: acifluorfen in soyabean and groundnuts; bentazone in soyabean, groundnuts and several bean species; atrazine, cyanazine, simazine, bromoxanil or dicamba in sorghum and maize; metolachlor in maize and sorghum (in conjunction with a safener); and 2,4-D, which is effective in the seedling and young growth stages.
Summaries of active ingredients which have been used for the control of D. stramonium are provided by Parsons and Cuthbertson (1992) for Australia, Weaver and Warrick (1984) for Canada and Mamarot and Rodriquez (1997) for France. It can be effectively controlled by early post-emergence application of imazethapyr in soyabean and groundnut (Cantwell et al., 1989; Wilcut et al., 1994). Imazaquin and imazethapyr are effective in both no-till and conventional tillage situations, but crop damage can result in both systems under some weather conditions (Mills and Witt, 1989). Post-emergent applications of clomazone provide a greater degree of control under conventional than reduced tillage systems (Mills et al., 1989). Selective chemical control of Datura species can be difficult in Solanaceous crops. However, mixtures of rimsulfuron and metribuzin can be used in potato (Robinson et al., 1996), whereas clomazone can be used safely post-emergence in direct-seeded sweet pepper (Cavero et al., 1996).
Herbicide-tolerant cultivars provide an opportunity for increased flexibility of chemical control. D. stramonium can be effectively controlled by pre-emergence applications of imazethapyr in imidazolinone-tolerant maize (Sprague et al., 1997). This approach would be particularly useful where triazine-resistant populations of the weed have evolved, for example, in the USA (Williams et al., 1995).
The susceptibility of other Datura species to herbicides is generally similar to that of D. stramonium. Efficient control of D. ferox in sorghum has been achieved with fluroxypyr, atrazine, 2,4-D and picloram or a combination of atrazine banded along the crop row and inter-row cultivation (Rawson and Bath, 1981; Webb and Feez, 1989). Floroxypyr and metribuzin can be used effectively against this species in sugarcane and soyabean, respectively (Mitidieri, 1976; Webb and Feez, 1989).
AAL-toxin, a potent natural herbicide derived from the fungus Alternaria alternata, has been reported to provide selective control of D. stramonium at low concentrations in maize, wheat and some dicotyledonous crops, including tomato (Abbas et al., 1995; Stewart-Wade et al., 1998). Although the mycoherbicidal potential of a number of fungal pathogens has been demonstrated (Boyette and Abbas, 1994) there are no reports of commercialization.
ReferencesTop of page
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