Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 26, 2005

From: Winchendon, MA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native, invasive Datura sprouting from compost
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I have a plant growing out of some compost we purchased this spring and no one can tell me what it is. It's about 4 ft. tall, the stem is maroon like rhubarb and it produces 4-5 in. tubular light purple flowers with a long stamen. It only opens in the early morning and late afternoon and dies off the next day. It has no smell and produces an oval, very thorny seed pod. The leaves look like oak leaves streched long. Someone said it was an angel trumpet or a red pigroot, but it's neither. It's driving me crazy!! Can you please help me?!!! Thank You in advance.

ANSWER:

This sounds like one of the Datura, probably Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium). It is an introduced species from Asia, but can be found in nearly every state of the U. S. Another non-native is D. metel, a native of India. D. wrightii is a very similar native North American species. These plants belong to the Family Solanaceae (Potato Family). Like many members of this family, Datura spp. are toxic but have been used in folk medicine for various ailments and have also been used as a psychotropic drug.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Secretions of fluid from crepe myrtles
June 09, 2008 - On my crepe myrtle tree I have dozens of 1/2-inch-long narrow bugs that seem to secrete tiny drops of fluid. They appear on the branches of the tree. Are these harmful to the tree? Do I need to do ...
view the full question and answer

Seed Habiturf on top of existing St. Augustine from Austin
January 26, 2012 - We don't want to rip up an existing St. Augustine lawn (potential HOA problems), but we'd like to go native grasses (like Habiturf?). Is there anything we can just seed on top of our present lawn a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native weeping willow
April 17, 2009 - The trunk of my Weeping Willow tree has raised donut growths.The left base has decay. There is a large space between the base and the soil (no roots) and the wood is brittle. Large ants with a black ...
view the full question and answer

Foxglove safety from England
April 21, 2013 - Hi, regarding safety of foxgloves grown near edible plants - foxgloves are good companion plants for vegetables, in case of root vegetables they improve their storage life and quality. Foxgloves prote...
view the full question and answer

Non-native weeping willow losing leaves
June 03, 2008 - We have a willow tree (weeping), which sprung up naturally about 12 years ago. It has done very well until this summer. After its bloom in late March, it is losing its leaves again..turning yellow and...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.