Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium L.)
Other common names: Jamestown Weed, Thorn Apple, Devil's Trumpet, Mad Apple, Stink Weed
| Description | Distribution | Conditions of poisoning | Control | Toxic principle | Clinical signs | References
Jimsonweed is a stout, coarse annual herb 2 to 5 feet tall, with spreading branches. It has a pale-green stem and large, ovate, green or purplish, strong-scented leaves, coarsely toothed on their margins. Its flowers are large, white, and tubular, 2 to 4 inches long, and set on short stalks in the axils of branches. Its circular seeds, about 1/8 inch across, are contained in a hard, prickly capsule which, when ripe, splits lengthwise into four parts.
Jimsonweed is sometimes grows in cultivated fields, overgrazed pastures, and waste lots. It prefers rich soil and may be found throughout Illinois as well as other states from New England to Texas and Florida.
All parts of the Jimsonweed are poisonous, but because of its strong odor and unpleasant taste, animals rarely eat enough of the green plant to be poisoned. Poisoning in animals occurs primarily when hungry animals are turned into a Jimsonweed-infested area where better forage is absent. Most cases of animal poisoning result from a quantity of the dried plant being fed in hay, while poisoning in chickens is due to eating of the seeds. Occasionally Jimsonweeds are accidentally included when the silo is filled. When the silage is fed to the animals poisoning occurs.
Jimsonweed is also known as Jamestown weed because of the mass poisoning of soldiers in Jamestown, Virginia in 1676. Jimsonweed poisoning is more common among humans than in animals.
Hungry animals should never be allowed to graze where there is Jimsonweed. In meadows where the plant grows, hay should not be made until after all Jimsonweeds have been removed. The custom of destroying this plant should be practiced on all farms.
Early signs of poisoning include: rapid pulse, rapid breathing, dilated pupils, restlessness, nervousness, muscular twitching, polydipsia, frequent urination, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, and weight loss. In fatal cases the pulse remains rapid but weak, breathing becomes slow and irregular, body temperature becomes subnormal, urine may be retained, and convulsions or coma precede death.
Datura stramonium entry in Wikipedia
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