Genus of the Week
Week of May 4-10
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
This week's genus:
Family: Solanaceae: The Potato (or Nightshade) Family
Number of Species: 10
Root: Hindi: dhatu + ra
The genus Datura is one of the several deadly members of the Solanaceae family. This is
due to the presence of the alkaloid atropine ("daturia") in the plants' tissues. In several
parts of the United States and Canada, it is illegal to grow Datura. Species are
often easily identified by their large, elegant trumpet-shaped flowers.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Datura species:
- The Domain of Datura will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about this genus, including the history of its use and accurate horror stories of its toxic effects.
- Stop by the Virtual Medicinal Herb Garden at the University of Washington for some
beautiful pictures of
D. inoxia (referred to here as Sacred Datura).
- Visit Plant Viruses Online to find out more about what viruses the following species are
- Floridata is a web site for gardeners that depicts
D. suaveolens (Angel's Trumpet) as a landscaping plant but warns about its potential
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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