Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium

Life Cycle



Reproducing only by seed.


Stems stout, erect, 90-200cm high, usually much-branched in the upper part, smooth and hairless. Larger plants will have a main stem often 5cm or more in diameter.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are narrow and about 2-4cm long, shriveling but persisting on the developing seedling. The first true leaves are ovate with pointed tips and few or no lobes. Later leaves distinctly alternate (1 per node), usually somewhat coarsely and sharply toothed or lobed, 10-20cm long and long-stalked.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers and seedpods short-stalked, borne singly in the angles between 2 or more stems and a leaf. The calyx is tubular or urn-shaped. The corolla is white or light purple, very long, tubular or trumpet-shaped, 7-10cm long with the flared end having 5 points. The seedpod is at first green and fleshy with sharp, soft spines, becoming a large (2-5cm across), dry, hard seedpod covered with very sharp, harsh spines and containing numerous black, flat, round seeds. Flowers from July to autumn.


Jimsonweed occurs in the warmer parts of southern Ontario in cultivated fields and around farmyards.

Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its tall, stout, branched stem (like small trees), large leaves, large, white or purplish trumpet-shaped flowers, large spiny seedpod and sour repulsive odour.


All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Human Health Issues

All parts of the jimsonweed plant are poisonous and are fatal if consumed in high quantities. Its toxicity is caused by tropane alkaloids.

Figure #1.

Jimsonweed. A. Top of flowering plant. B. Seedling. C. Fruit.

Figure #2.

linear cotyledons of Jimsonweed

Figure #3.

A young seedling plant.

Figure #4.

Large seedling plant prior to flowering.

Figure #5.

The poisonous seeds of Jimsonweed