Common Jimsonweed (Thorn Apple)

Datura stramonium
Family: 
Solanaceae (nightshades)
Description: 

Tall, branching, leafy, rank-smelling annual, often with purple stems. Flowers funnel-shaped, pleated, and swirled, with 5 sharply pointed lobes, to 5 inches long. The tube emerges from a green calyx less than half the length of the corolla; white or light violet, or white with a violet throat. Flowers open in the evening with a strong perfume and close in early morning. Blooms May–October. Leaves alternate, on petioles, deeply lobed with teeth, to 4 inches long. Fruit an ovoid, spiny capsule to 2 inches long, upright, splitting open by 4 valves, spilling many flat, black seeds.

Size: 
Height: to 5 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in pastures, barnyards, fields, roadsides, railroads, and waste or cultivated land. A native of tropical America, jimsonweed was introduced and has naturalized in much of the United States. Though it and its relatives have a long history as medicinal plants, with many varied uses, only a slight overdose can kill a person.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide.
Human connections: 
Like most members of the nightshade family, common jimsonweed is poisonous, causing hallucinations. The seeds are particularly toxic. It is a troublesome weed of crop fields, and livestock can be poisoned by it. Handling the plant can cause skin irritation in some people.
Ecosystem connections: 
Sphinx moths pollinate the goblet-shaped flowers, which open around midnight and close by early morning. Although toxic to mammals, the plant is eaten by several types of insects.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/17542