The Sonoran Desert Florilegium

plants of the florilegium

Datura wrightii
Sacred datura

FAMILY:  Solanaceae — Nightshade family

ETYMOLOGY:  The genus Datura derives its name from the Hindu Dhatūrā, or thorn-apple, a reference to the plants' sharply barbed fruits.

The species epithet wrightii commemorates Charles Wright (1811–1885), the prominent American botanist who spent several years collecting plants along the U.S.-Mexico border.

DESCRIPTION:  The large white trumpet-shaped flowers of the perennial sacred datura bloom at night. They open at dusk and close in the morning. Their pollinator, the hawk moth, is attracted by the flower's strong sweet fragrance. Blooming occurs during the warm months and is dependent on moisture. The large heart-shaped leaves are sticky and when crushed release an unpleasant odor. The fruit is a large round prickly capsule. When mature the capsule splits apart to release its seeds. Every part of the sacred datura is toxic and can be lethal.