Datura Trivia

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Mon, 30 Dec 2013 08:13:05 PST
Shawn wrote: "Interestingly, "jimsonweed" is reportedly a corruption of "Jamestown weed."  There is apparently at least one Datura species native to Virginia whose special properties were made known to the early colonists."

Here's the passage from Robert Beverley's  the History and Present State of Virginia (1705) - I took this from the Wikipedia entry for Datura stramonium:
 The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take to be the plant so call'd) is supposed to be one of the greatest coolers in the world. This being an early plant, was gather'd very young for a boil'd salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon (1676); and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.

In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves — though it was observed that all their actions were full of innocence and good nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallowed in their own excrements, if they had not been prevented. A thousand such simple tricks they played, and after eleven days returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.
– The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705  
I've often wondered if this is not the most frequently quoted passage from Beverley's History. 
Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where jimsonweed is a common weed.

On Monday, December 30, 2013 10:09 AM, Shawn Pollard <pollards22@yahoo.com> wrote:
The sacred jimsonweed (Datura wrightii / meteloides) is the most perennial of the southwestern U.S. species and can get become a large sprawling monster when happy in cultivation.  I'm not aware of it developing a geophytic root, though.  To be reliably perennial, it needs tough love.  The most perennial individuals I have observed, returning year after year, were at middle elevations (3,000-5,000 feet) in southeastern Arizona and West Texas where they freeze back to their roots every winter.

Interestingly, "jimsonweed" is reportedly a corruption of "Jamestown weed."  There is apparently at least one Datura species native to Virginia whose special properties were made known to the early colonists.

Shawn Pollard
Yuma, AZ

On Sun, 12/29/13, Aad van Beek <avbeek1@hotmail.com> wrote:

Subject: Re: [pbs] Onward through the fog! - More Drivel and Trivia :-)
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Sunday, December 29, 2013, 8:16 PM

Leo wrote

> We have several bulbs in the lower Sonoran Desert,
including what we know as
> Dichelostemma pulchellum, as well as Hesperocallis
undulata. There are also Asclepias
> and Datura species with undergound storage organs.

Datura are mostly annuals and some of them can become very
weedy. Never seen a datura with underground storage organ.
Do you have a name and picture of such a datura.


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