What is datura?

Generic Weed Distribution Map     


  • There are several introduced species of datura in Tasmania. They are similar in appearance and weediness and are dealt with together in this control guide.
  • Daturas are highly poisonous to humans and stock, and can be a significant crop weed.
  • Daturas are declared weeds in Tasmania. The importation, sale and distribution of datura are prohibited in Tasmania.


How to identify datura

    • Daturas are bushy annual herbs growing to 1.5 m high but more commonly from 30 to 60 cm. Daturas have distinctive erect, trumpet-shaped flowers with pointed lobes which grow singly from a fork of the stem. Flowers may be white, pink or purple, and the fruit is also distinctive, being a globular capsule covered in spines (giving the plant its common name, thornapple). The capsule contains numerous seed. When mature it splits into 4 segments spilling the seed. The leaves are large (up to 20-35 cm long) with bluntly toothed margins, and have an unpleasant odour when crushed.
    • Daturas germinate in the warmer months when there is sufficient moisture. Germination is often spread over several months, giving rise to plants of various ages. Early growth is very rapid, and flowers can be produced by plants as young as 2 to 5 weeks old. Daturas die off in the cooler autumn weather, although dead plants bearing seeds can remain standing through winter and into spring.
    • For help in identifying datura, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora Database for datura illustrations. If you are still in doubt about the weed you are dealing with, contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 for help.

Datura in Tasmania

  • The distribution of datura in Tasmania is limited (see map). Datura occurs as an occasional weed of roadsides and neglected areas on the north-west coast and in the north-east. Daturas are also occasionally found in older or abandoned gardens.
  • All parts of the datura plant, and particularly the seeds, are highly toxic and can cause severe or fatal poisoning in humans and stock. However, the bitter taste of datura usually deter stock from browsing on the plant. Daturas are significant weeds of a variety of summer crops on mainland Australia, but are not important agricultural weeds in Tasmania at the present time.

What is the legal status of datura in your area?

Detailed management and control guidelines for datura can be found in the Datura Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Datura Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

See also
Datura Control Guide
Herbicides for Datura Control
Datura Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links

Pest Genie

    Important Disclaimer
    To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.

Back Home