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Datura stramonium bud Datura stramonium

Heavier than the other daturas and therefore attuned to the Earth aspect of Venus, this annual plant is called Jimson weed because in Jamestown in 1676, it poisoned soldiers who made the fresh leaves into a soup. Magically, this herb has been implicated in lycanthropy and shape-shifting.  It is interesting in relation to this that in the language of flowers, jimsonweed signifies disguise. Some people claim this is an aphrodisiac, probably because it is a Venus herb (the Kama Sutra contains a description of an ointment made from datura and some other herbs); I can see this plant being used in love magic only in the sense of trying to duplicate the stupification that this plant can cause.  Its visionary qualities--and they are very strong--can best be accessed by inhaling the scent of the flower instead of ingesting it. Some consider this a Saturn herb, which makes some sense because of its association with a number of other plants that are Saturn and because it is one of the baneful herbs. Saturn's preoccupation with borders would also suit the shapeshifting aspect, since that means one changes one's borders.  I personally believe it is Saturn, but in a very tricksterish aspect, something we would not normally associate with that that planetary rulership. I have had profound experiences with this plant, much more so than the other daturas, and that is without ingesting this plant in any way. In my opinion, this plant does not want to be ingested. It does seem to have a playful side, but this is a plant of such power that its playfulness is terrifying. Top

Datura inermis Toxicity
Because it is a New World plant, this was not traditionally grown in a witch's garden, but it's terrific in a Moon garden. Many Native American tribes used this plant medicinally, but my research turns up only the Alogonquin using this particular datura for religious purposes (they used tatula). Although reports of deaths connected to herbs are usually just thrown around without any substantiation, I have found reliable numbers that two people (probably children) died of eating this plant (probably seeds) in 1999, and a Greek man died of eating the seeds in 2004, 2013. More likely, though, is after ingesting this plant, you would sincerely wish you were dead. The biggest problem with members of the nightshade family is the unpredictability of their effect. There is no way to quantify this plant.  Top

In the Garden

Seeds germinate in 2-6 weeks at room temperature. This is a tough plant that grows throughout the temperate world. Because it needs full sun and rich soil, it especially likes to grow in open places such as pastures, and farmers consider it a weed, but it will grow best if you amend your soil with leaf mould (composted leaves). Don't plant near tomatoes or potatoes, because it is a regular magnet for viruses that affect the nightshade family. Daturas themselves won't necessarily succumb to these viruses, although they can get scruffy and start putting out distorted leaves, but tomatoes will up and die from them. Jimsonweed is also often attacked by bugs that make holes in the leaves, but it seems to just shrug this off. I have never actually seen the bugs that make these holes. The flowers open at night and remain open for part of the next day. They're pollinated by moths, but this plant is mainly self-pollinated. Recently I read that old pollen or old seeds will tend to produce genetic mutations in this plant, so if you are interested in developing varieties, you can try using old seed. The seed capsule is a very spiny oval in the regular jimsonweed and an odd bumpy critter in the black spineless jimsonweed that opens when it's ripe and beginning to turn brown. It usually gets up to 4ft/1m tall but can easily get taller. Space them 24-48"/60-120cm apart. One plant will provide enough seeds for you and about 500 of your friends. When stored in a cool, dry place, seeds of this plant are viable for years. This plant is also known as Stramonium, Devil's Apple, Jamestown-weed, Stinkweed, Devil's Trumpet, and Apple of Peru. Read more about datura here. Top

D. stramonium var. tatula
Spiny Thornapple
25 seeds $3.50

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Baneful Work
Love Magic
Venus/Saturn Herb

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