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Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by LINGAFELT11, Feb 2, 2011.
Can anyone identify this plant?
Datura. Frequently asked about. Very poisonous.
How is it poisonous? To the touch?
Primarily poisonous if eaten, but I'd also not recommend getting any large amount of the sap on your skin.
Probably Datura wrightii. I handle the leaves by the handfull for pruning with no effects, but get just one drop of sap accidentally in your eye and you'll really wish you hadn't for a couple days. Hallucinations (usually very negative) to permanent mental retardation and even death possible for directly consuming any part of the plant.
I think there's a lot of exaggeration about the deleterious effects of datura.
Speaking as someone with personal experience with datura and brugmansia, it takes a lot to experience hallucinations. REALLY A LOT!
I've run the chainsaw to cut down brugmansias... several large patches at the end of the growing season, forgetting to wear safety goggles, and get plenty of juice slung into my eyes, and other than an experience like visiting the eye doctor (expanded pupils), nothing...
When I used datura deliberately, it took eating multiple large hands-full of seeds, or brewing up a tea from the leaves, stalks and seeds...
Not something to be consumed for fun... But also not deserving of the hysteria either... I've known a lot of people who experimented, and nobody has had the experiences that the urban rumour mill churns out.
Stone please note that I did not say you would get hallucinations from getting sap in your eye. I'm glad you noted that getting it in your eye cost you a trip to the doctor and dilated eyes (and stayed dialated and bothered your vision for 2-3 days, right? I had temporary blindness for part of the first day).
Regarding the urban myths, as respectfully as I can, honestly that is exactly what you are doing with your anecdotes. I wouldn't challenge you like that if it weren't such a huge safety issue for you to condone unsafe drug use, especially for these two dangerous genera.
The first and most important thing that you don't understand is the massive variability of toxicity that these have; not just between different species, but even from the same exact plant at different times of the year (even times of the day!). It's not safe because you never know if you are going to get the same mild results some idoit on the internet reported.
The poisoning effects of Brugmansia and Datura are widely know and reported in the scientific literature. Only the urban myths say it is safe. Here is just one basic search to get you started with a drop in the bucket of info on it, with several graphic descriptions of of actual specific case studies on just the first couple pages.
Here is a short article listing many of the different possible effects of eye contact, as well as variability of toxicity.
One quick quote from a poison coltrol center here:
Scopolomine, made from Datura, will put you in zombie-like state at 6 or 7 milligrams, but only 10 milligrams can cause a coma and death. Yet you'll never know how much you get from any natural part of the plant because of the variability.
Here is a very important quote from this research sponsored by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority:
Here is gobs of evidence that Brugmansia & Datura really are used in South America and India for murder!
Brugmansia is widely known throughout South America (going back centuries) as the "Evil Eagle" because of the negative trips that it is known for.
The proof is obiquitous if anyone just looks.
No. An hour or so, and no need to bother the doctor... I described the experience as being LIKE a visit to the eye doctor (When they put drops in your eye to expand the pupil).
Not blindness, and I've had the experience multiple times... Sometimes I remember the goggles, usually I forget. I've been growing multiple varieties of datura and brugmansia in multiple locations over a number of decades.
I described my experience, I said that it was unpleasant.
Using these plants for their hallucinogenic properties is not a fun time, I would discourage people from using them that way, there are much better plants...
I've read that there were natives in South America who used the plants as punishment for members of their tribe.
I've read other negative applications that it's been used for in history.
Again, there's a lot of unnecessary hysteria concerning this plant. My personal experiences (using this plant), and the anecdotal information that I've collected from friends weren't encouragement to use these plants (as drugs), weren't discouragement, were related to provide information.
Thank you, Tom -- much appreciated that I don't have to spend the time pointing out the science on this one.