Jimson Weed (Datura wrightii) - TheBackCountry

Datura wrighti, also known as Jimson Weed or sacred datura, is the name of a poisonous perennial plant and ornamental flower of southwestern North America. It is sometimes used as a hallucinogen. D. wrighti is classified as a deliriant and an anticholinergic.

It is a vigorous herbaceous perennial that grows 30 cm to 1.5 m 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 (7.9 in) long, sometimes tinted purple, especially at the margin. Five narrow points are spaced symmetrically around the rim. The plants often can be seen as a ground vine in habit, growing close to the ground and spreading in a very exposed environment with full direct sunlight (cleared roadside). D. Wrighti, blooms from April through October. In clear weather, flowers open in the morning and evening and close during the heat of the day (depending on water availability); in cloudy weather, they may open earlier and last long.

The seeds are borne in a spiny, globular capsule 3 to 4 cm in diameter, which opens when fully ripe.

D. wrighti is found in northern Mexico and the adjoining southwestern U. S. states, as far north as southern Utah, in open / disturbed land and along roadsides with well-drained (sandy) soils.

Medicinal Among the Zuni people, the powdered root is given as an anesthetic and a narcotic for surgery. They also apply a poultice of root and flower meal applied to wounds to promote healing.

Religious D. wrighti is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. 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 well being required to become a man. Not all of the boys survived. The Zuni people also use the plant for ceremonial and magical purposes. The root pieces are chewed by a robbery victim to determine the identity of the thief. The powdered root is used by rain priests in a number of ways to ensure fruitful rains.

Observations Map

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