Brugmansia Pers., Synopsis Plantarum 1: 292 (1805); named after Sebald Justinus Brugmans (1763–1879), Dutch botanist and Professor of Botany at Leiden.


Type species: Brugmansia candida Pers.

Datura p.p., auctt. (see Haegi 1976).

Perennial shrubs or small trees to 4 m, pubescent with simple, non-glandular hairs, without spines. Leaves alternate, simple, entire or lobed, petiolate. Flowers solitary in forks of stems, bisexual, actinomorphic, pendent. Calyx tubular, the lobes 2-5, sometimes spathe-like,either falling as a whole or persistent in fruit. Corolla funnel-shaped, rarely multiple, white or variously coloured; limb shortly 5–lobed or appearing 10–lobed, folded and twisted in bud. Stamens 5, more or less equal or didynamous with two and three stamens of similar height, inserted in lower half of corolla-tube; filaments hairy at base. Anthers bilocular, basifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, free or fused. Ovary 2–, or apparently 4–, locular; stigma of 2-3 elliptic surfaces at apex of style. Fruit usually a fusiform capsule, more rarely globose, 4–valved, opening regularly or irregularly from apex. Seeds flattened, corky, angular or very approximately D-shaped. Angel's  Trumpets.


Generally recognised as consisting of 5 or 6 species from South America but with a number of hybrids of known origin. Despite its wide cultivation, at the time of the Flora of Australia treatment there were no records of Brugmansia having naturalised in Australia. Now there are sporadic records from northern NSW and SW Qld of two species having escaped from the garden environment, one the species B. suaveolens and the other the hybrid referred to as B. x candida. For differences between the species see below since they have not been distinguished further in the key.


T.E. Lockwood, Generic recognition of Brugmansia. Bot. Mus. Leafl. Harv. Univ. 23: 273-83 (1973); L. Haegi, Taxonomic account of Datura L. (Solanaceae) in Australia with a note on Brugmansia Pers., Austral. J. Bot. 24: 415–435 (1976).


Datura and Brugmansia - how they differ


Brugmansia has often been confused with Datura. The two genera are easily distinguished by the long-lived, softly woody bushes reaching up to 4 m high for Brugmansia as opposed to the short-lived, summer flowering annuals of Datura. In addition Brugmansia has pendent flowers on 3-6 cm long pedicels and non spiny fruits while Datura has erect flowers on 0.5-1.5 cm long pedicels and spiny fruits (Haegi 1976). 


Additional information and images on the web


The American Brugmansia & Datura Society maintains a comprehensive website for the two genera. However the further information provided on this site with respect to differences between the two genera as well as keys for identification of the species and images showing the internal anatomy of the flowers is no longer freely accessible. Both B. suaveolens and B. x candida are treated on this site.


B. suaveolens and B. x candida can be distinguished by the spathaceous calyx (split down one side) and recurved corolla lobes of the latter compared with the 5-toothed calyx and non-recurving corolla lobes of B. suaveolens. They are further distinguished by the fused anthers of B. suaveolens while those of B. x candida are free. B.suaveolens also has a much narrower corolla tube where it exits the calyx when compared with B. x candida. See Haegi (1976) for a table of the differences between these two species and also B. sanguinea, the other commonly cultivated species in Australia.

Both species are also compared on the Cook Islands Biodiversity and Natural Heritage site, the source of the photographs shown above.

For further information about B.suaveolens see the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) site, the Flora of Australia Online site for its occurrence on Norfolk Island and the PlantNET site for its occurrence in NSW.


Further information for B. x candida in NSW can be seen on the PlantNET site and in the Pacific on the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) site.