Annual herb or subshrub, up to 2 m, of large, white funnel-shaped flowers and spiny fruits.
Scientific name: Datura stramonium L.
Common names: jimsonweed, common thorn apple, devils trumpet, jamestown-weed, stinkwort
Status in Portugal: invasive species (listed in the Decreto-Lei nº 92/2019, 10 july)
Risk Assessment score: 32| Value obtained according to a protocol adapted from the Australian Weed Risk Assessment (Pheloung et al. 1999), by Morais et al. (2017), according to which values above 13 mean that the species has risk of having invasive behavior in the Portuguese territory | Updated on 30/09/2017.
Synonymy: Datura talula L., Datura inermis Juss. Ex Jacq., Datura stramonium L. var. tatula (L.) Torr.
Last update: 11/07/2021
How to recognise it
Flowers: large (5-10 cm), funnel-shaped, white or purple.
Flowering: June to October.
There are other species of Datura but they have either significantly larger or smaller flowers than Datura stramonium, so they’re not to be mistaken.
Characteristics that aid invasion
It propagates by seed and produces seeds that have great ability to germinate at any time of the year. Each capsule may contain around 500 seeds. A plant may produce up to 30000 seeds, which may be viable for over 40 years.
Native distribution area
South Tropical America.
Distribution in Portugal
Mainland Portugal (all provinces).
Geographic areas where there are records of Datura stramonium
Other places where the species is invasive
Temperate, tropical to subtropical regions in North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand.
Preferential invasion environments
Mainly crop areas, ruderal places and other wastelands. It also invades natural and semi-natural areas.
Impacts on ecossystems
The seedlings establish rapidly and form great mats that shade the surrounding vegetation, thanks to their large leaves.
It has allelopathic effects that inhibiting the development of other species.
It interferes in the production/productivity of agricultural areas.
All parts of the plant, especially the seeds, are very toxic and may be fatal if ingested by humans and other animals.
Controlling an invasive species demands a well-planned management, which includes the determination of the invaded area, identifying the causes of invasion, assessing the impacts, defining the intervention priorities, selecting the adequate control methodologies and their application. Afterwards it is fundamental to monitor the efficiency of the methodologies and recuperation of the intervened area as to perform, whenever necessary, the follow-up control.
The control methodologies used for Datura stramonium include:
Hand pulling: preferential methodology for seedlings and young plants. It should be done before fruit maturation. In more compacted substrates, hand pulling should be done during the rainy season as to facilitate the removal of the entire root system .
Visit the webpage How to Control for additional and more detailed information about the correct application of these methodologies.
Dufour-Dror J-M (2012) Alien invasive plants in Israel. The Middle East Nature Conservation Promotion Association, Ahva, Jerusalem, 213pp.
Marchante E, Freitas H, Marchante H (2008) Guia prático para a identificação de plantas invasoras de Portugal Continental. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, 183pp.
USDA, NRCS. (2012) The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Available: http://plants.usda.gov [Retrieved 10/11/2012].