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DATURA inoxia 'Belle Blanche'

Image of Datura inoxia 'Belle Blanche'

Jessie Keith

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

DATURA inoxia 'Belle Blanche'

Plant Common Name

Downy Thornapple, Pricklyburr

General Description

Extra large, fragrant, white flowers are produced by the vigorous ‘Belle Blanche.’ Downy thornapple is a large, bushy, herbaceous perennial (or annual) that looks best in early morning when its flowers stand open to the dawn sky. Datura inoxia is naturally found in dry washes, rocky hillsides and waste places from sea level to middle elevations in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, though it has become naturalized in other parts of the country.

This heat-lover relies on a deep tap root to reach moisture trapped beneath dry soil. Its downy, oval, dark green or grayish green leaves have a fetid scent. Throughout summer, large, fragrant, white, trumpet-like flowers open in the evening and do not close until noon the following day. On cloudy days they will stay open for longer. The highly fragrant blooms are pollinated by nocturnal moths, such as hawk moths. These are followed by large, spiny seed pods called thorn-apples.

Like most southwestern natives, downy thornapple is sun-loving and thrives in dry poor soils. It is relatively cold-hardy but can be grown as an annual outside its hardiness range. It self-sows, sometimes aggressively, so it's a good idea to remove the plants before their spiny capsules break open and release their seeds. This coarse, rather gawky perennial works well in naturalistic plantings and other informal settings.

Downy thornapple is toxic to most herbivores. To learn more about the health hazards associated with this plant see: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/pp/ppack.info?p_psn=184&p_type=all&p_sci=sci&p_x=px

This plant may also be sold be the old name, Datura metel.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States, California, Texas, Mexico, Central America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes