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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Datura inoxia | Thorn-Apple

Botanical Overview of Datura

  • Scientific Name: Datura inoxia

  • Common Names: Downy Thorn-Apple, Indian Apple, Moonflower, Sacred Datura

  • Family: Solanaceae

  • Description: A perennial herb or shrub with large, gray-green, fuzzy leaves, and large, white, trumpet-shaped flowers that open in the evening. The plant produces spiny seed pods and can grow up to 1.5 meters tall.

datura inoxia botanical illustration

Properties of Datura

  • Chemical Constituents: Tropane alkaloids (scopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine).

  • Edibility: Highly toxic and not edible; all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Distribution and Habitat of Datura

  • Native Range: Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America.

  • Preferred Habitat: Prefers dry, sandy, or rocky soils, often found in desert environments, roadsides, and waste areas.

Toxicological Properties and Uses of Datura

  • Toxic Compounds: The primary toxic alkaloids are scopolamine, atropine, and hyoscyamine, which affect the central nervous system.

  • Symptoms of Poisoning: Symptoms include dry mouth, dilated pupils, blurred vision, hallucinations, agitation, hyperthermia, urinary retention, and tachycardia. Severe cases can lead to delirium, convulsions, coma, and death.

  • Lethal Dose: Even small amounts can be dangerous. Ingestion of seeds, flowers, or leaves can cause severe poisoning and potentially fatal outcomes.

  • Historical Uses: Historically, parts of the plant have been used in shamanic rituals and traditional medicine for their hallucinogenic and anesthetic properties, but due to the high risk of toxicity, it is not used medicinally in modern practices.

Magical Correspondences and Uses of Datura in Magical Practice

  • Element: Fire, Earth

  • Planet: Saturn, Venus, Moon

  • Magical Properties: Visionary experiences, protection, and banishment.

  • Uses: Due to its potent psychoactive properties, Datura has been used in shamanic and magical practices to induce visions and altered states of consciousness. It is also associated with protection and banishment rituals, often used to ward off evil and negative influences. Extreme caution is advised in any use, given its toxic nature.

Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Datura

  • Historical Context: Known and used by indigenous peoples of the Americas for its powerful psychoactive properties. It has a long history in shamanic and traditional rituals.

  • Folklore: In various Native American traditions, Datura is considered a sacred plant used to communicate with the spirit world. It was believed to provide powerful visions and insights but was respected for its dangerous potency.

  • Mythology: Associated with the moon and night due to its large, white flowers that bloom in the evening. In some cultures, it is linked to lunar deities and used in night-time rituals to harness lunar energy and enhance psychic abilities.

Historical Literary Sources

  • Carlos Castaneda's "The Teachings of Don Juan": Describes the use of Datura species in traditional shamanic practices.

  • William Emboden's "Narcotic Plants": Discusses the ethnobotanical and toxicological aspects of Datura inoxia and other related species.


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