Last Saturday I headed up to Kings Mountain, Near Dana NC, with my daughter Sarah to seek out some Jimsonweed plants that I had seen in a field the year before, well, actually their offspring, since they are an annual plant. I remember them having white flowers and a burr-like fruit. The field had been cut back and I found no Jimsonweed there, but I found some growing at a construction site on Upward Rd. The flower on this one was a beautiful purple.
Jimsonweed ( Datura Stramonium ) is a herbacious plant in the Nightshade ( Solanaceae ) family, which includes Potatoes, Tomatoes and Tobacco. Unlike those, Daturas, like many Nightshades are highly toxic. In fact, along with Belladonna and Brugmansia they are the most toxic of all the Nightshades. Jimsonweed is fairly common here in the mountains of North Carolina. In size it can grow to around 6 feet high. About the same size as Pokeweed. Datura Stramonium is known most commonly as Jimsonweed but other names like Jamestown Weed, Witch's Weed, Devils Trumpet and Angels Trumpet are also used. Angels Trumpet however is much more commonly used for its very close South American relative, the Brugmansia. Brugmansias are woody stemmed perennials that can have a tree form and can reach heights of more than 30 feet in their native range. The bloom is similar to the Datura's but much larger. Both Datura and Brugmansia are members of the Datureae group in the Nightshade family.
Another Nightshade common here is Horse Nettle ( Solanum carolinense ) Horse Nettle has fuzzy leaves with small thistle-like thorns present on the stems and leaves. The fruit is a small tomato-like berry that resembles that of another Nightshade. Ground Cherry. However, Ground Cherry is edible. While the fruit of Horse Nettle is less toxic when ripe yellow than it is green it is still not safe for people to eat. One way to tell the difference from this plant and Ground Cherry is that the fruit of Ground Cherry is in a husk. I remembered this before taking a bite! The fruit of Ground Cherry is also often yellow and about the same size as Horse Nettle.
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/pra ... ettlex.htm
Both Jimsonweed and Horse Nettle are found in fields, roadsides and other open places.
Both Datura ( Jimsonweed ) and Brugmansia ( Angels Trumpet ) are among my favorite plants. I had a 5 ft tall yellow-flowered Brugmansia plant at my old home about 6 years ago. I remember it having 50 huge fragrant blooms on it at once. It preferred blooming late of an evening and at night. Dad had a huge one he planted at the side of his house last year. It had pinkish blooms. Even though he cut it back last year, winter about did it in. It barely came up this year.