Flowers so large they’re fit for a dinosaur dinner! I once read a story about a girl called Katy who discovered dinosaurs on an island. She fed the dinosaurs large flowers that looked a lot like these!
Native to the Americas, daturas, a.k.a. Brugmansia are large, vigorous annuals or short-lived perennials, growing to 1-3 m tall that belong to the genus of 12-15 species of flowering plants with woody stalks of the Solanaceae family. The leaves are alternate, 10-20 cm long and 5-18 cm broad, with a lobed or toothed margin. Most parts of the plant contain atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. It has a long history of use both in S. America and Europe and is known for causing delerious states and poisonings in uninformed users. There is a mnemonic for the physiological effects of datura/atropine intoxication: “blind as a bat, mad as a hatter, red as a beet, hot as hell, dry as a bone, the bowel and bladder lose their tone, and the heart runs alone.” The actual effects are reported to be: extreme dilation of the pupil), flushed, warm and dry skin, dry mouth, urinary retention and slowing or stopping of intestinal movement, rapid heart beat, hypertensions or hypotension and jerky movements. In case of overdose the effects are hyperthermia, coma, respiratory arrest, and seizures. The vast majority of atropine-poisoning cases are accompanied by delirium with hallucinations.
Spiky fruit develop later after the plants’ blooms are done – they make attractive looking decorations (see photo below).