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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.

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

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Monday - May 17, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Need to know about the invasiveness of Datura wrightii.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently purchased a small Datura wrightii plant for my front garden. I've been researching it, since I know it is quite toxic, and couldn't find a good answer to one question. I saw one or two places online that described D. wrightii as being invasive; but it doesn't specify in what region. Since it seems to be native to this area, I wouldn't think it would be classified as invasive here, but I'm curious as to whether it would be expected to spread heavily in a place like Austin (one super-toxic plant I can take, a yard full of them I'd like to avoid). Thank you!

ANSWER:

The lowly Jimson Weed Datura wrightii (sacred thorn-apple)  has very showy flowers but all parts of the plant are considered toxic. Therefore your concern about its invasiveness is warranted.

As to its invasiveness, I have read posts on the davesgarden.com site that decry the invasive nature of the plant. The people here at the Wildflower Center that I have talked with tend to discount the extent of its invasiveness. In the wild, it can readily invade disturbed areas, but careful management in the garden can prevent its spread.

The plant propagates by seeds, and you can prevent their development by removing the flowers as they fade. This is known as deadheading.


 

 

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