Alien Invasives

Common Thorn Apple (Datura innoxia)


05 October 2016

Common Thorn Apple (Datura innoxia)

The Common Thorn Apple is an annual shrub that grows up to 1,5 metres with sparsely hairy to smooth, green, brown or purple stems. The leaves are dark green or purple on the upper surface and paler underneath. They are sparsely hairy and have an unpleasant odour. Solitary white, mauve or purplish funnel-shaped flowers appear from October to March followed by brown hardened fruit capsules covered with slender spines. The seeds and other parts of this plant are poisonous to livestock and humans.

Other names
Ditch Weed, Jimson Weed, Stinkwort (English)
Gewone Stinkblaar, Malpitte (Afrikaans)
iloqi (isiZulu)
lechoe (Sesotho)
umhlavuthwa (Xhosa)
Invasive status
NEMBA Category 1b
CARA 2002 Category 1

Common Thorn Apple
Originally from
Tropical America
Where is it a problem?
Found in scattered localities throughout South Africa
How does it spread?
Seed dispersal
Why is it a problem?
It competes with indigenous pioneer species and the seeds are highly toxic
The poisonous seeds are used for hallucinogenic purposes – hence the Afrikaans name malpitte

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