Datura

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Datura

 

a genus of plants of the family Solanaceae. The plants are grasses, more rarely bushes and trees. The blossoms are large and pentagonal; the corolla is a hornlike funnel. There are more than ten species, primarily in the tropics and subtropics.

Common Datura (D. stramonium), or thorn apple, is found in the USSR. It is an annual plant growing to 1.2 m, with scaly, indented, lobed leaves. The blossoms are single and white. The fruit is a pod, covered with sharp spikes. It grows as a weed along the edges of pastures, in refuse areas, and the like. It is also found along the banks of rivers and streams in the southern half of the European part of the USSR, in the Caucasus, Western Siberia and Middle Asia. It is cultivated for medicinal purposes in Krasnoiarsk Krai, southern Ukraine. All parts of the plant contain poisonous alkaloids (hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and atropine). The dried leaves are used in compounding asthmatine and asthmatol, preparations for treating bronchial asthma.

Harmless, or Indian, Datura (D. innoxia) is cultivated in the southern regions of the USSR. It is originally from Central and South America. D. metel, from southern Asia, is also cultivated; its unripened fruits contain scopolamine. Certain annual varieties (D. fastuosa, D. humilis) are raised in gardens, while perennials (D. arborea, D. sanguinea) are grown in outdoor gardens and in rooms as decoratives.

REFERENCE

Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.

T. V. EGOROVA

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