Shady Stories

          If you thought the origin of Datura Stramonium's common name, jimson weed, was interesting here are a few more stories. Some will make you laugh and others may make you appreciate jimson weed's magnificence

 - Here's a modern case where after the ingestion of jimson weed, several adolescents were hospitalized with severe hallucinations.  Jimson Weed Poisoning (Case Report)

 - As you may have read on the interactions page jimson weed can also have effects on livestock, but here is a case of a common house cat ingesting the plant. My Poor Cat Has Been Tripping All Day

 -  Finally, what about the undead... There have been several accounts where jimson weed has been used as a means to keep people in an almost zombie like state, as to exploit them for labor. Real Zombies Of Haiti, or for a more specific example Medicine: Zombies: Do They Exist


Medicinal Uses

            There's a reason that jimson weed has Hindu as well as Central American roots, but mythological stories aside, Datura stramonium's  medicinal properties are notable. Referring back to the nurtition page, Atropine, hyoscyamine, and hyosine are all common alkaloids found in jimson weed. Although it is not wise to recreationally ingest these substances, from a pharmacological stand point they several uses. 


Atropine is used extensively in ophthalmology because of its remarkable ability to not only dilate ones eye, but prolong the effect for several days. In addition to dilation, paralysis occurs but for a shorter period of time. Hyoscine has these same effect but for a more limited duration.

Stimulants and Depressants

           These alkaloids also can have an effect on the central nervous system, acting as either stimulants or depressants. Atropine is most frequently used as a measure of counteracting the depressive effects of morphine, however it has also been used as an antidote for insecticide and nerve gas exposure. Hyosine is perhaps a more commonly used substance that is even available over the counter to children. Drugs such as Dramamine or Benadryl use hyoscine for the anti-nausea effects that it has. Not surprisingly from jimson weeds notorious past, Hyoscine also has a reputation as a "truth serum".


Quiz Time

Below are several picture follow the directions above each and test your knowledge!

Which fruit below is the characteristic thorn apple? Answer found on the classification page.

Now can you distinguish which is Datura and which is Brugmansia? Answer found in text below, and identification criteria found on the classification page. No mouseover clues are available...

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3


Image 1 - Datura stramonium

Image 2 - Datura stramonium

Image 3 - Brugmansia candida... What gave it away?

Continue to the classification page if your skills weren't up to the task above.

If you have more questions please continue to the contact me page, otherwise continue to the home page.