Datura and brugmansia
Datura and brugmansia are two kinds belonging to the family of solanaceae, which are often confused, generally they all tend to be considered both dature and brugmansie, belonging to the datura genus; it is not infrequent to also find beautiful specimens of brugmansia in specialized fairs and nurseries with a card that names them as dature.
Clear that the two genera have many similarities, and above all, most of the species of brugmansia, once they had been, erroneously, attributed to the genus datura (stramonio, rosa spinosa).
The genus Datura, stramonio, walnut thorn
To the genus datura belong less than ten species of herbaceous plants, annual and perennial, of fairly cosmopolitan origin, from Asia to Europe, with some species also American; in fact some species are now widespread all over the globe. The most famous are Datura stramonio, also known as spiny walnut, also present in Italy as a wild plant; Datura metel or trumpet of the devil; datura inoxia, of South American origin.
Although they are annuals, they develop a large bush, with thick and fleshy stems, which bear large leaves vaguely reminiscent of large oak leaves, but slightly velvety, dark green.
Throughout the summer they produce huge erect flowers, shaped like large trumpets, generally white in color, sometimes with violet or pink edges, very fragrant, especially in the evening and night.
The large flowers are followed by large, walnut-shaped, pendulous fruits, covered with spines, which contain many fertile seeds. Datura plants generally self-seed easily, and often tend to become weeds in the right climatic conditions.
They are grown in a very sunny place, with soft and loose soil, very well drained; they tolerate drought without problems, even prolonged, and are very suitable to be cultivated in low maintenance flowerbeds and gardens, because they continue to vegetate and flourish even if completely left to themselves.
Watering can be necessary in case of drought that lasts for long periods, or in case of dry springs, when the plants are not yet well developed.
Perennial species tend to dry out completely on arrival of cold, and then develop again the following spring.
The genus Brugmansia
The genus Brugmansia includes some species of medium-sized shrubs, originating mainly from South America. They produce fairly messy shrubs, with large, bright green oval leaves. Throughout the summer they produce large trumpet flowers, delicately scented, and pendulous, of red, pink, yellow, orange color; there are numerous brugmansia hybrids on the market, with flowers in particular colors.
The brugmansie adapt perfectly to the Mediterranean climate, with average high temperatures and long periods of drought; they love very well drained soils, and need sporadic summer watering.
Some species love a cooler and wetter climate, and love the shade in the hot Italian summers.
They fear the cold quite, and temperatures below 2-5 ° C tend to completely ruin the shrub, which could however re-branch in spring. In areas with harsh winters, they are cultivated in a place sheltered from the wind and covered with non-woven fabric upon the arrival of the first winter colds.
There are hybrids that are particularly suitable for cultivation even in areas with very cold winters.
Under the right climatic conditions a brugmansia shrub can grow up to 3-5 meters high, forming a kind of ceiling dotted with hanging flowers, with a decidedly very attractive effect.
Stramonius, thorny walnut - Datura: Poisonous plants
Dature and brugmansie, as with other solanaceae, are decidedly very poisonous plants: all parts of the plants contain highly toxic alkaloids, which can cause delirium and which in extreme cases can even lead to death.
The seeds and leaves of brugmansia are used in shamanic rituals of some South American populations.
In fact these plants do not have an inviting aspect from the culinary point of view, it is therefore unlikely that there is the desire to put some leaves in a salad or to flavor the sauté with some seeds, it is therefore difficult to run real risks by growing them in the garden.