When You Accidentally Grow The Hallucinogenic Plant Jimsonweed In Your Backyard

Datura jimson weed nightshade

If you think it looks scary, you’re right. It’s datura, also known as jimson weed and nightshade. And I found it growing in my garden.

I can’t be the only one who has accidentally grown a hallucinogenic plant in their yard, right? Here’s how I found out what was going on in my garden container.

That week, the #Gardenchat Twitter chat topic was plant identification. Participants were all talking about the plants and weeds in their yards that they needed help identifying.

I didn’t think I had much to offer to the conversation, then I remembered that weird weed that I’d let grow in one of my vacant containers. I’d figured it was just a tree sapling because it was quite woody.

But then it grew some long, pendulous trumpet-shaped lavender-colored flowers and freaky spiked green seed pods. That was pretty weird. Not like any tree I’d seen in the neighborhood.

So I posted a pic on Twitter, sure that it would be some super-common weed that all real, experienced gardeners recognize on sight. I felt silly even bringing it up.

A few gardeners did recognize it, but I was not expecting the ID. It was datura, also known as jimson weed, devil’s trumpets and nightshade. If ingested, flowers and seeds can range anywhere from mildly hallucinogenic to deadly.

I can’t believe we never saw any squirrels tripping in the yard.

Wikipedia and #GardenChat contributors (thanks @CountryglLiz and @Denise4003) both point to birds as a possible source of this weed, carrying seeds from who knows where in their bellies and then ever-so-kindly depositing them in my yard. Makes sense, since the container is close to our bird feeder.

So how do I get rid of it? Burning it is probably not a good idea. GardeningKnowHow says to basically treat jimson weed like a biohazard. Glyphosate. Gloves. The whole nine. Fun.

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1 thought on “When You Accidentally Grow The Hallucinogenic Plant Jimsonweed In Your Backyard

  1. Carol Tambascio

    Sara, were you able to get rid of that plant? I have poison ivy and didn’t know it. I have bought the chemical killer for poison ivy that I bought at Lowes. I hope that I can identify it and get rid of it. A friend told me that the leaves are not always shiny and can climb fences and trees. I hope that you were ready to get rid of your Jimsonweed.


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