Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Solanaceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 179 (1753).

Derivation: Hindi dhatura, apparently the name for D. metel.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Thornapples.

Stout malodorous annual or perennial herbs, essentially glabrous or pubescent with simple glandular or non-glandular hairs; leaves alternate, simple, entire or lobed, petiolate.

Flowers solitary in branch forks, bisexual; calyx tubular, with usually 5 (rarely 3, 4 or up to 9) teeth, at length circumscissile near the base; corolla regular, funnel- or trumpet-shaped, rarely multiple, with a plain or marked throat and usually 5 (rarely up to 9) broad cuspidate lobes, the tissue between the lobes sometimes excessively developed and the limb appearing 10- or 12-lobed; lobes plicate and twisted in bud; stamens 5 (or up to 8), equal, included in the corolla, the filaments adnate to the corolla for one-third to one-half of their length from the base; anthers loosely cohering, 2-celled, dehiscing longitudinally; ovary 2-celled, often falsely 4-celled in the lower half, beset with soft spinules.

Fruit a spiny or tuberculate capsule dehiscing septifragally in 4 valves or breaking irregularly from the apex, subtended by a collar formed by the enlarged reflexed persistent calyx base; pedicel erect or deflexed; seeds ear-shaped, thick or flat; testa minutely pitted.

Distribution:  About 10 species, in south-western United States, Central America and Asia, with 1 species generally considered native to Australia, where a further 5 species are naturalised and declared noxious weeds in most States.

Biology: No text

Uses: Several species have long been used as drug plants; most are poisonous to stock. (Haegi (1976)Aust. J. Bot. 24:415-435).

Key to Species:
1. Leaves with at least some lobes toothed or sinuate; capsule erect; seeds black or grey
2. Flowers 6-10 cm long; capsule with more than 100 slender spines of varying lengths, evenly distributed
D. stramonium 5.
2. Flowers 4.5-6 cm long; capsule with 40-60 stout spines, those towards the base markedly shorter
D. ferox 1.
1. Leaves entire or if lobed then lobes entire; capsule deflexed; seeds brown or yellow (sometimes grey)
3. Plants glabrous or sparsely pubescent with non-glandular hairs
4. Flowers 4.5-7 cm long; capsule with sharp spines
D. leichhardtii 3.
4. Flowers 12-20 cm long; capsule with blunt tubercles
D. metel 4.
3. Plants densely pubescent with at least some glandular hairs present
5. Hairs on branches and leaves all erect and glandular; stigma borne well below the anthers
D. inoxia 2.
5. Hairs on branches and leaves mostly retrorse and non-glandular; stigma usually exserted well above the anthers
D. wrightii 6.

Author: Prepared by L. Haegi

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