Color of jimson weed seeds

Color of jimson weed seeds

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Crop and Soil Environmental News, April 2004

About Jimsonweed

A. Ozzie Abaye, Extension Specialist, Alternative Crops
Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences Department

Jimsonweed – (Datura stramonium L.)

  • 3 mm long in
  • kidney-shaped, with pitted surface, slightly wrinkled, flatened
  • similar to velvetleaf seed but not as deeply lobed
  • dull dark brown to black

Seed capsule covered with stiff prickles

Leaf shape and arrangement Leaf: Very angular, large, smooth (no hair), thin, wavy, coarsely toothed (jagged lobes) about 3 to 8 inches long, leaf margins resembles those of oak leaves, leaves on long stout petioles

Stolon/rhizome/roots No stolon or rhizome; stem stout, branched and green to purple in color; thick, shallow and extensively branched taproot system

Inflorecence Flowers are large and trumpet or funnel-shaped (tubular), white to pinkish, borne singly on short stalks in the axils of branches, are attractive and fragrant; fruit are a spiny egg-shaped capsule covered with short, sharp spines; when the fruit is ripe the pods burst open splitting into 4 segments and scatter numerous poisonous black, kidney-shaped seeds.

Jimsonweed – (Datura stramonium L., Synonyms:Datura tatula L.)

Other common names: Jamison-weed, jamestown-weed, jamestown lily, thorn-apple, stinkwort, stinkweed, mad-apple, trumpet plant, loco weed, angel’s trumpet, devil’s, fireweed, dewtry, apple of Peru

Warm-season, summer annual

  • Native to Asia
  • Found almost everywhere in the US. except in the North and West; most common in the south.
  • Waste ground and cultivated land, preferring nitrogen-enriched habitats
  • Is a member of the nightshade family which includes potatoes and tomatoes.
  • Is herbaceous, annual plant that grows up to 3-5 feet tall and even taller in rich soil.
  • Reproduce by seed.
  • Dead leafless stem with dry seed remains standing in the field.
  • Primarily a weed of agronomic crops but also found in disturbed areas, along roadsides, old fields, pastures, barnyards, hog lots, waste places, and in gardens.
  • Jimsonweed is a poisonous plant; all parts of the plant are toxic; however, the seeds, fruit, and leaves contain the highest level of alkaloids and are the usual source of poisoning in humans, cattle, goats, horses, poultry, sheep, and swine. Poisoning of humans in recent years has been more frequent than livestock poisoning. Human poisoning results from sucking the nectar from flowers or consuming the seeds. Due to Jimsonweed’s strong unpleasant odor and taste animals avoid grazing it unless other more desirable forage species are not available.
  • Alkaloids are related to those found in magic mushrooms, however, magic mushrooms do not cause death even if consumed in a large quantity.
  • The plant contains tropane alkaloids, which affects the central nervous system, with the major alkaloids being atropine and scopolamine.
  • Symptoms associated with jimsonweed include blurred vision, confusion, agitation, and combative behavior
  • Jimsonweed has been used by Native Americans and others for drug-induced ceremonial and spiritual purposes.
  • Jimsonweed is also called Jamestown weed for two reasons: for the town in Virginia where jimsonweed is believed to have been imported to the US from England; In 1676 a massive poisoning of soldiers (by eating the plant in salads) in Jamestown, VA occurred, giving rise to the common name “Jamestown weed” and “jimsonweed”).
  • The seeds and leaves are deliberately used to induce intoxication.
  • Atropine, a substance in Jimsonweed has been used in treating Parkinson’s disease, peptic ulcers, diarrhea, and bronchial asthma.
  • In 1968, the use of Jimsonweed as a hallucinogenic drug prompted the US government to ban over-the-counter sales of products prepared from it.

Cheeke P. R. 1998. Natural Toxicants in Feeds, Forages, and Poisonous Plants. p. 382-383. 2nd. Ed. Interstate Pub. Inc. Danville, Illinois.

Hardin J. W. 1966. Stock-Poisoning Plants of North Carolina. p. 98-99. Bulletin No. 414. Agricultural Experiment Stat. North Carolina State Univ. Raleigh, NC.

Muenscher W. C. 1946. Weeds. p. 406-408. The Macmillan Co. New York, New York.

National Drug Intelligence Center 8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1001 McLean, VA 22102-3840

Russell A. B., J. W. Hardin, L. Grand, and A. Fraser. 1997. Poisonous Plants of North Carolina; North Carolina State University. Raleigh, NC.

South Dakota weeds. 1975. Agric. Ext. Serv. South Dakota State University. Pub. p. 154. South Dakota State Weed Control Commission.

Uva, R. H., J. C. Neal, and J. M. DiTomaso. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. p. 312-313. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York.

Color of jimson weed seeds

Datura stramonium
Nightshade family (Solanaceae)

Description: This plant is a summer annual about 3-5′ tall that branches dichotomously. The stems are green or purple and largely hairless, although young stems often have conspicuous hairs. The alternate leaves are up to 8″ long and 6″ across (excluding the petioles). They are ovate or ovate-cordate in outline, but pinnately lobed. These lobes are somewhat shallow and pointed at their tips; there are usually 2-3 of these lobes on each side of the leaf blade. The margin of each leaf may have a few secondary lobes or coarse dentate teeth, otherwise it is smooth or slightly undulate. The leaves may be slightly pubescent when young, but become hairless with age; the upper surface of each leaf is often dark green and dull. The foliage of Jimsonweed exudes a bitter rank odor.

Individual flowers occur where the stems branch dichotomously; the upper stems also terminate in individual flowers. The funnelform corolla of each flower is up to 5″ long and 2″ across when fully open; its outer rim has 5 shallow lobes. Each of these lobes forms an acute point in the middle.The corolla is white or pale violet throughout, except at the throat of the flower, where thick veins of dark violet occur. The light green calyx is shorter than the corolla and conspicuously divided along its length by 5 membranous wings. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 2 months. The flowers usually don’t open up until midnight and close early in the morning; less often, the flowers may bloom toward the middle of the day, especially when it is cloudy. Individual flowers last only a single day. Each flower is replaced by a hard fruit that is dry and spiny; it is about 1�” long, 1″ across, and spheroid-ovoid in shape. Underneath each fruit is a truncated remnant of the calyx that curves sharply downward. These fruits are initially green, but become brown with maturity; they divide into 4 segments to release the seeds. The large seeds are dull, irregular, and dark-colored; their surface may be pitted or slightly reticulated. The root system consists of taproot that is shallow for the size of the plant; it branches frequently. Jimsonweed spreads by reseeding itself.

Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a rich fertile soil with high nitrogen content. This type of soil is necessary to supply the nutrients that are required by the prodigious growth of this annual plant. The foliage is often pitted by tiny holes that are made by flea beetles (the same or similar species that attack eggplant). The seeds can remain viable in the ground for several years.

Comments: The common name ‘Jimsonweed’ is probably a corruption of ‘Jamestown Weed,’ referring to where this species was first observed in North America. Another common name that is often used for this species is ‘Thornapple.’ Two varieties of Jimsonweed have been described. The typical variety has green stems and white flowers, while var. tatula has purple stems and either pale violet or purple-striped flowers. Jimsonweed has a distinct appearance, making it easy to identify.

The only other Datura spp. in Illinois, Datura wrightii (Angel’s Trumpet), rarely naturalizes in the wild. It is sometimes cultivated in flower gardens because of its attractive flowers. Angel’s Trumpet is a hairier plant with unlobed leaves and larger flowers. The corolla of its flowers ranges from 5-8″ in length, while the corolla of Jimsonweed’s flowers is about 3–5″ in length. Both of these Datura spp. have flowers that bloom during the night. Another species in the Nightshade family, Nicandra physalodes (Shoofly Plant), also rarely naturalizes in the wild. The Shoofly Plant has foliage that is similar to Jimsonweed, but its funnelform flowers are much smaller (less than 1�” long and across). Unlike Jimsonweed, the flowers of Shoofly Plant are strictly diurnal.

Weed Seed: Datura stramonium (Jimsonweed)

Primary Noxious, Class 2 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act.


Worldwide: Exact native range obscure (USDA -ARS 2016 Footnote 2 ), present in Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand (CABI 2016 Footnote 3 ).

Duration of life cycle

Seed or fruit type

Identification features

  • Seed length: 2.5 – 4.0 mm
  • Seed width: 2.5 – 3.0 mm


  • Rounded D-shaped seed, compressed, hilum is along the narrow edge

Surface Texture

  • Seed dull, pitted surface with wrinkles


  • Seed dull black to brown; immature seeds are lighter

Other Features

  • The hilum is triangular, 1.0 mm long and filled with white to pinkish tissue
  • There is a small bump at the bottom of the hilum

Habitat and Crop Association

Cultivated fields, row crops, old fields, gardens, farmyards, fencelines, shores, roads and disturbed areas (Royer and Dickinson 1999 Footnote 4 , Darbyshire 2003 Footnote 5 ). A weed of soybeans, beans, corn, tobacco, tomatoes and sweet peppers in the midwestern United States and southern Ontario and Quebec (Weaver and Warwick 1984 Footnote 6 ).

General Information

Jimsonweed is an aggressive colonizer of agricultural fields in almost any summer crop. Plants may produce 1,300-30,000 seeds, and these may survive up to 39 years in the soil (CABI 2016 Footnote 3 ). Poisonous to livestock and humans (Royer and Dickinson 1999 Footnote 4 ).

Similar species

Buffalo bur (Solanum rostratum)

  • The seeds are a similar rounded D-shape, pitted surface, compressed and black colour as jimsonweed.
  • Buffalo bur seeds (length: 2.5 – 3.3 mm ; width: 2.3 – 2.5 mm ) are generally smaller than jimsonweed, have a deeply pitted surface, wavy edges, and an open hilum.

Large thorn apple (Datura ferox)

  • The seeds of large thorn apple are the same rounded D-shape, size, black colour and dull, pitted and wrinkled surface as jimsonweed.
  • The hilum of large thorn apple is oval with rounded edges, not triangular with straight edges as jimsonweed. There is also a notch next to the hilum, rather than a bump as in jimsonweed.


Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) seeds Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) seed Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) seed, hilum view Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) seed Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) seed, cross-section

Similar species

Similar species: Buffalo bur (Solanum rostratum) seeds Similar species: Buffalo bur (Solanum rostratum) seed Similar species: Large thorn apple (Datura ferox) seeds Similar species: Large thorn apple (Datura ferox) seed Similar species: Large thorn apple (Datura ferox) seed, hilum view


Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Favreau, M. and Anions, M. 2016. VASCAN, the database vascular plants of Canada, [2016, May 30].

Royer, F. and Dickinson, R. 1999. Weeds of Canada and the Northern United States. The University of Alberta Press/Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta.

Darbyshire, S. J. 2003. Inventory of Canadian Agricultural Weeds. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch. Ottawa, ON .

Weaver, S. E. and Warwick, S. I. 1984. The biology of Canadian weeds. 6. Datura stramonium L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 64 (4): 979-991.