What Does It Look Like?
What is it?
Devil's Trumpet (Datura metel) is a much-branched, bushy, annual herb growing to 1 m high. The stems are green or often tinged purple (sometimes entirely purple), without hairs or almost so on mature parts. The leaves are alternately arranged along the stem, stalked, green, often strongly tinged purple, with few or no hairs, oval to broadly oval in outline (widest below the middle), 100–140 mm long and 50–120 mm wide, sometimes up to 160 x 150 mm, with 16 cm long and 15 cm wide, with a few short, broad angular lobes on the leaf edges margins, especially towards the base.
The flowers are borne singly in the branch forks and are shortly stalked; they are usually double or triple in form, especially when purple or yellow, but sometimes single, especially when white. The flowers are 140–200 mm long, often purple outside and white inside, sometimes yellow and (in Australia) rarely white, trumpet-shaped, with 5 short, broad, each ending in a narrow tip (overall appearance 5-lobed).There is a tubular green or purple calyx (outer covering) extending for only about a third of the the total flower length from the base; it usually has 5 but sometimes up to 9 teeth.
Devil's Trumpet has capsular fruits that are tuberculate or covered in numerous short, blunt prickles; the capsules are turned downwards. At maturity, the capsule body is very broadly egg-shaped to globular, 30–40 mm long, and covered in numerous conical tubercles (blunt prickles) all more or less equal in length and mostly 2–5 mm long, the capsules rarely almost smooth. The capsules break up unevenly from the tip, shedding a large number of seeds. The seeds are D-shaped, tapered towards the base, with a smooth, deep furrow along the margins, yellow to brownish yellow, 4–5 mm long (Haegi 1976; Purdie et al. 1982).
For further information and assistance with the identification of Devil's Trumpet, contact the herbarium in your state or territory.
Purple and white; sometimes yellow (rarely white).
Growth form (weed type/habit)
Robust, bushy, annual herb
Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat
Devil's Trumpet appears to prefer open disturbed habitats in areas near habitation, where water and soil nutrients are available (AVH 2021).
Are there similar species?
Devil's Trumpet is quite distinctive. It is somewhat similar to Common Thornapple (Datura stramonium) in overall appearance but Common Thornapple has much smaller flowers (only 60–85 mm long) and upright, sharply-prickly capsules that split evenly into 4 segments when ripe. In Devils' Trumpet the flowers are 140–200 mm long and the capsules are nodding, they are covered in blunt tubercles and break up unevenly when ripe (Haegi 1976; Purdie et al. 1982).