Daturas of the Old World and New
An account of their narcotic properties and their use in oracular and initiatory ceremonies

William E. Safford

Annual Report of the Smithonian Institution, pp. 537-567, 1920

PART II-images     PART I-text

During the recent war, when the United States was cut off from the sources of supply of many important drugs, it was found that an excellent substitute for atropine, a product of the European Atropa belladonna L., could be obtained from our common Jamestown weed and other closely allied plants belonging to the same genus, Datura.1

A critical study of this genus has revealed great confusion in botanical literature as to the specific identity and origin of some of the most common species. Certain authors have confused a well-known plant, endemic in Mexico and northern South America, with the Asiatic Datura metel, a species based by Linmeus on the jouzmathel, or metel-nut of the Arabs and the dhatura, or dutra, of the Hindoos. Other authors attribute the origin of the purely American Datura stramonium to the Old World and separate its purple variety from its typical white-flowered form as a distinct species; still others segregate the tree daturas of South America as a separate genus.

This paper is part of a thesis submitted by the writer for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at George Washington University. The remaining part, entitled Synopsis of the Genus Datura, was published in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, vol. 11, pp. 173-189, April 19, 1921. Its object is to clear up the existing confusion and to call attention to the remarkable properties of the various species of this genus, and also to give an account of their use, both in the Old World and the New, as intoxicants and ceremonial plants used for oracular divination. [538]

The use of narcotic plants among the ancients

The history of narcotic plants goes back to remote antiquity. The Pythian priestesses of Delphos prophesied while under their influence. The lovely Helen, as related in the Odyssey, to make Telemachus forget his sorrows, held to his lips a cup of wine into which she had secretly put the soothing nepenthe. Diodorus of Sicily, in his account of the narcotics of Egypt, tells of a plant used by the women of Diospolis for dispelling anger and grief. Early Sanscrit and Chinese writings tell of a magic plant used as a hypnotic, or narcotic, in all probability identical with the metel-nut, or dhatura, which Christoval Acosta, in his account of the drugs of the East Indies, says was so skillfully dispensed that adepts were able to gauge doses, the effects of which were to last for as many hours as it was wished to render the subject unconscious.

That Shakespeare was familiar with narcotic plants of this kind is indicated in several of his plays. The gentle Juliet, when in her distress she seeks the holy friar, skilled in physic, receives from him a potion with these directions:

"Take thou this phial, being then in bed,
And this distilled liquor drink thou off;
When presently through all thy veins shall run
A cold and drowsy humor, which shall seize
Each vital spirit; for no pulse shall keep
His natural progress, but surcease to beat;
No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livst;
The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade
To paly ashes, thy eyes' windows fall,
Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;
Each part deprived of supple government,
Shall stiff and stark and cold, appear like death:
And in this borrow'd likeness of shrunk death
Thou shalt continue two-and-forty-hours,
And then awake as from a pleasant sleep."2

That Shakespeare was familiar with the mandrake, or mandragora, whose shrieks when uprooted were declared by early herbalists to cause madness, is indicated by Juliet's reply;

"How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? There's a fearful point!
Mack, alack! Is It not like that I,
So early waking, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad-
O, if I wake, shall I hot be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears?"3 [539]

After having instilled suspicion into the mind of Othello he makes Iago exclaim:

"Look, where he comes! Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy sirups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep which thou ow'dst yesterday.4

Cleopatra, bereft of her Antony, begs Charmian for a potion of mandragora, that she might sleep out the great gap of time when he was away from her.5
Again, he refers to mandragora in the second part of Henry VI, when in reply to the Queen's taunt: "Hast thou not spirit to curse thine enemies?" Suffolk replies:

"A plague upon them! wherefore should I curse them?
Would curses kill, as doth the mandrake's groan,
I would invent as bitter-searching terms,
As curst, as harsh and horrible to hear."6

Narcotic Solanaceae

The Solanum family, to which the genus Datura belongs, includes a great number of plants remarkable for their narcotic properties, among them the mandrake (Mandragora), Belladonna (Atropa), henbane (Hyoscyamus), and Scopolia of the Old World, and tobacco (Nicotiana) of the New. Strange to say, it also includes several important food plants, such as the egg plant, tomato, and potato.

In the Old World the most famous of all was the mandrake, Mandragora officinalis, so frequently mentioned by Shakespeare. During the Middle Ages this plant was much used in amorous incantations. Its forked root, which by a little contrivance is easily made to assume the human form, helped to endow the plant with magical properties. According to early herbalists it would shriek aloud when torn from the ground, and so dangerous was it that those who ventured to gather it had to stop their ears to guard against deafness or even death. One of the Greek writers published an illustration representing the custom of using a dog in gathering it. The earth having been carefully dug from around the plant, a dog is tied to the stalk. In attempting to run away the dog pulls up the plant and is represented as writhing in the agonies of death. Among the famous Old World plants are the deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna, the principal source of atropine; the henbanes, or "insane roots," Hyoscyamus niger and Hyoscyamus muticus; and the metel-nut, or nux-methel, belonging to the genus Datura. In the New World there are a number of species belonging to this genus, some of which, as stated above, have been confused with Old World species. [540]

History of the genus Datura

The earliest account of a plant of this genus is that of the learned Arab Avicenna, who in the eleventh century described a certain fruit under the name jouz-mathel, or metel nut, and mentioned it among the drugs of the Arabic pharmacopaea (pl. 1). Avicenna's account was translated by Dioscorides, and this so-called nut was recognized by Matthiohi and other early botanists as the fruit of a narcotic solanaceous plant, which was described two centuries later by Linneus under the name Datura metel.

Christoval Acosta, in his Tractado de las Drogas y Medicinas de las Indias Orientales (1578), gives an account of it under the name Datura, stating that in the East Indies it was much used as an aphrodisiac. Its trumpet-shaped flowers he compares to those of a Convolvulus in form and its seeds in size to lentils. Among the Hindu enamoradas, he says, few are without Datura seeds among their most highly prized treasures. They were ground to a powder and administered in wine or some other medium, and
"he who partakes of it is deprived of his reason (queda enagenada), for a long time laughing or weeping or sleeping, with various effects, and oftentimes talking and replying; so that at times he appears to be in his right mind, but really being out of it and not knowing the person to whom he is speaking nor remembering what has happened after his alienation has passed. Many mundane ladies are such mistresses and adepts in the use of this seed that they give it in doses corresponding to as many hours as they wish their poor victim to be unconscious or transported. And, truly, if I were to tell stories of what I have heard or seen relating to this matter and the different ways I have seen people act when under the influence of the drug I would fill many sheets of paper, but as this is not necessary I will refrain. I will only say that I have never seen anyone die from its effects, but I have seen some who have gone about for several days perturbed, and this must have been because it had been given to them in too large doses, which, if too great, will cause death, because this seed contains venomous parts, although the Gentiles administer it as a diuretic with pepper and betel leaves and say it is efficacious, but this I have not seen nor tried, having other medicines more safe for the purpose."7
The high esteem with which this plant was regarded by the ancient Chinese is indicated by Li Shi-Chen, in his celebrated work on the Materia Medica of China, Peu ts'ao kang mu, published in 1590. According to this author the Chinese name of this plant, man t'o lo hua (probably derived from the Sanscrit) is taken from a famous Buddhist sutra, "Fa hua ching," in which it is declared that when Buddha preaches a sermon the heavens bedew the petals of this plant with rain drops; and, according to a more ancient tradition of the Taoists, the name of the plant is that of one of the circumpolar stars, and every envoy sent down from this star to the earth is supposed to [541] carry in his hand one of its flowers; so that the Chinese came to call the flower by the name of the star. Li Shi-Chen gives a pretty good description of the plant, which he says has leaves resembling those of an egg plant, flowers with a white hexagonal corolla, blooming in the eighth month (September), and round prickly fruits; but this description is corrected by a Japanese botanist, Ono Ranzan, who says that the flower is normally pentagonal instead of hexagonal and this correction is sustained by Siinuma Yokusai, another authority on old Japanese botany, who gives a very good illustration of the flower in question (fig. 1), identifying it with the white-flowered form of Datura metel, known to the Japanese by the name of Chosen-asagao, or "Korean morning-glory."8

Matsumara, a Japanese botanist, has recently called attention to the fact that another vernacular name applied to the white-flowered shiro chosen-asagao is mandarago; and Dr. Tyozaburo Tanaka, to whom I am indebted for the above account of this plant, informs me that the latter name is nothing else than the Buddhistic pronunciation of Li Shi-Chen's man t'o lo kua, undoubtedly derived from the narcotic "mandragora," so famous during the Middle Ages.

Origin of the name datura

It was this Asiatic "metel-nut" called in India Dhatura, or Dutra, that gave its name to the genus. In the Hortus Cliffortianus of Linnaeus (1737) it appears as Datura pericarpiis nutantibus globosis, or Datura with nodding globose pericarps, or fruits; and the flowers were described as varying in color, with a simple white corolla, a simple purple corolla, a double or triple purple corolla, or a double corolla white within and purple on the outside.

True to his principle of not adopting a barbarous word for a generic name, Linnaeus latinized the East Indian Dhatura, or Dutra, by giving it the form Datura, explaining the name by the following pun: "Daturae, licet originis sit peregrinae, vocabulum persistere valet, cum a latina derivari potest; dantur et daturae forte in Indiis posthac semina a lascivis foeminis maritis inertibus."9

Confusion of specific names

After reading the above reference to the use of the Asiatic Datura as a narcotic and identifying with it the Datura metel described by Linnaeus in the first edition of his Species Plantarum by means of the descriptions and figures cited by Linnaeus, it seems strange that botanists should have abandoned the valid name Datura metel for [542] the Asiatic species, substituting for it Datura fastuosa, which was first published as a specific name in the second edition of Species Plantarum, and transferring the name Datura metel to an American plant specifically distinct from the true Datura metel of Linnaeus.10

Under the brief description in Hortus Cliffortianus, above cited, the first two references lead to the identification of the Stramonia, or Pomum spinosum, described and figured by Bauhin with the Stramonia of Fuchsius and the Nux methel of Avicenna. Bauhin's figures agree with that of Fuchsius (1542) in the form and surface of the fruit, which bears very short anti thick spines, not subulate or needlelike prickles; indeed, his second illustration (fig. 2) is a reduced copy of Fuchsius's. It was not until after the publication of the Hortus Cliffortianus (1737) that Rumphius published his Herbarium Amboinense containing the plate reproduced in the accompanying illustration (Fig. 3). Linnaeus is careful to cite this plate, both in the tenth edition of his Systema and the second edition of his Species Plantarum, as an illustration of his Datura metel. In the former work he publishes D. fastuosa as the name of the second figure on the plate, not as a numbered species, but as a variety B; in the latter work he gives it specific rank, making it differ from the typical D. metel in having tuberculate instead of prickly pericarps. Fortunately the figures themselves show that these differences are nominal, and one has only to examine the fruits of the various forms of this East Indian Dhatura to be convinced of the variability of their tubercles or prickles (See plate 1.).

That the white and purple forms of the single or double flowered plants should all be referred to one species by Linnaeus, is justified by the best modern, authorities on East Indian botany; but that the name D. fastuosa should be adopted for the species and the previously established type (D. metel) reduced [544] to a synonym, as in Trimen's Handbook of the Flora of Ceylon, is inexcusable.11

Still more surprising is the treatment of this species by Nees von Esenbeck, who rebaptized the species D. alba, citing as its type the very plate of Rumphius which Linnaeus cites as the typical form of his D. metel12 (fig. 3); while C. B. Clarke, in Hooker's Flora of British India, not only ignores Linnaeus's references above mentioned in connection with Datura metel but transfers this specific name from the Asiatic metel-nut to a plant of American origin and cites as an illustration of the species, not the figures of Fuchsius, Bauhin, or Rumphius, which fix Linnaeus's species, but an illustration in Curtis's Botanical Magazine (see fig. 4) of a plant grown in London from seed of American origins clearly identical with Miller's Datura inoxia, which will be described below.14

For the misunderstanding of Linnaeus's Datura metel, Dunal is largely responsible. In De Candolle's Prodromus (vol. 13, pt. 1, pp. 541-544) the section of the genus to which D. metel belongs is treated by this author in a most unsatisfactory manner.

Disregarding Linnaeus's reference to the Stramonia of Johannes Bauhin (fig. 2) as the basis of D. metel, and, indeed, not referring at all to its original publication in the first edition of Species Plantarum, he describes as distinct species the various forms originally regarded by Linnaeus as varieties of the East Indian Dhatura, and still so regarded by botanists familiar with East Indian botany; accepts Nees von Esenbeck's D. alba, substituted for the previously described D. metel, and identified, like that species, [546] with the Dutra alba of Rumphius; and fails to quote Linuaeus's citation of the very same illustration (see fig. 3) upon which Nees based his species. This Asiatic species (fig. 1), the distribution of which he gives as "in arenosis ubique per omnem Indian Orientalem," he makes identical with the American D. innoxia Miller (fig. 4) already referred to, a species which Miller definitely states grows naturally at La Vera Cruz, Mexico, whence he received the seeds. Fortunately the plant continues to grow in its type locality, where abundant material can be secured for study.

Under D. fastuosa Dunal does not indicate that it was in the second edition of Species Plantarum that it first appeared as a distinct species, but cites Species Plantarum without giving the edition of the work or the date of its publication; while under D. metel he fails to mention its appearance in the first edition, but cites only the second edition, so that the inference would be that this was the place of its first publication and that, instead of preceding, it followed the description of D. fastuosa. After this arbitrary treatment of D. metel L., one is curious to know what plant Dunal refers to this species, which he could not entirely ignore. In the De Candolle Herbarium he came upon an American plant, collected by Berlandier at Victoria in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, which appeared to correspond with the description of. D. metel, and which indeed resembles that species very closely. This he settled upon as D. metel L. and identified with it a second Mexican plant collected by Schiede and Deppe on the sandy beach of Vera Cruz, and also an imperfect specimen of a Datura collected by Humboldt and Bonplend on the beach of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

As for Asiatic examples of D. metel, definitely declared by Linnaeus to be the source of the East Indian aphrodisiac drug called dhatura, he cites not a single specimen, but he does give as a synonym Rumphius's Dutra nigra, which is nothing else than the kala-dhatúrá, or black datura of India, not specifically distinct from the safed- dhatúrá, or white datura.15

Botanical description of the Asiatic Datura metel

Datura metel L. is a spreading plant with dichotomous branches, usually herbaceous but sometimes becoming shrublike with the base of the stem and the lower branches woody, and the root, which penetrates deeply into the soil, bearing several large branches of similar size. The entire plant is apparently glabrous and has the appearance of being covered with fine grayish dust or flour. The terete glossy stems and older branches are marked with the scars of fallen leaves. The leaves are triangular-ovate in general outline and un[547]equal-sided at the base, especially those of the upper branches, acute at the apex, and with the margins usually angulate but sometimes entire. The flowers (see pl. 2) are large and funnel-shaped, often double or triple, one corolla, issuing from another; in the type form pure white, but sometimes of a dirty whitish color, violaceous, red-, dish-purple, or purple on the outside and white within. The tubular calyx, as seen under the lens, is minutely appressed-pubescent, with five triangular, acuminate marginal teeth, and is usually about one-third as long as the corolla. The corolla limb when fully, expanded is almost circular, normally with five equidistant radiating nerves terminating at the margin in a short acute tail, but often 6-toothed, and in the inner corollas of double flowers from 5 to 10-toothed.

The tubercled or muricate globose fruit (see pls. l and 2 and figs. 1, 2, and 3) is borne on a short thick peduncle which is never erect as in D. stramonium (pl. 6) but curved to one side, so that the fruit is at length more or less inclined or nodding. The persistent expanded base of the calyx is either reflexed or appressed to the pericarp, which is not valvate, as in D. stramonium, but cracks open irregularly, revealing a mass of closely packed, light brown, flat seeds which nearly fill the interior.

Type locality. As to the mother country of Datura metel, Linnaeus states, in the first edition of his Species Plantarum (p. 179, 1753), "Habitat in Asia, Africa." In Hortus Cliffortianus, under his description of the plant which formed the basis of the species he is more definite: "Crescit in Oriente, in Malabria, Aegypte, etc.;" while in the second edition of Species Plantarum, where he identifies his plant with Rumphius's Dutra alba, he extends its range to the Island of Amboyna. Nowhere does he mention its occurrence in the Canary Islands, as cited by Nees von Esenbeck, but it is very probable that "Canara" (the district of Kanara, British India), mentioned by Rumphius as one of the localities of its occurrence, was mistaken for the Canary Islands's by Willdenow, who, in the fourth edition of Species Plantarum (p. 1009, 1797) adds this locality to Asia and Africa; and it is this edition of Species Plantarum and not the first (where the species was originally established) that Nees cites, when he rechristens the species and improperly transfers its valid name to another.

The illustration on page 544 (fig. 3), drawn by Mrs. R. E. Gamble after Rumphius, shows the simple-flowered white dutra, identical with the type of Linnaeus's D. metel and a double-flowered form identical with D. metel var. fastuosa. Rumphius states that the white dutra (see fig. 1) is very common in India and grows to a larger [548] size than the other forms; also that, while the upper leaves have unequal margins on opposite sides of the midrib, the larger leaves near the base of the plant are frequently symmetrical or nearly so and broadest at the base, with the salient marginal angles more or less hastate. He describes the corolla as five-toothed, white, and more than a palm wide. The flowers can not endure the heat of the midday sun, but they open on calm cloudy days and especially toward evening, remaining expanded throughout the night and exhaling a sweet but faint lily-like fragrance. He likens the fruit to small apples as large as a hulled walnut, but rounder, subtended by a flat shield-like pericarp which continues green for a long time, and bearing upon the surface short thick points, which do not prick but make it difficult to seize the fruit. This finally breaks up into four parts, exposing a white medulla thickly covered with dark yellow, flat, rugose seeds, shaped almost like the human ear, and having a sweetish but insipid taste. The black dutra has similar flowers and fruit but dark brown or blackish stems and more prominently angled, deeper green leaves which appear to be sprinkled with gray flour, while the red dutra, the type of the variety fastuosa, has double reddish-colored flowers and lead-colored foliage. He does not hesitate to identify his plant with the classic nux-metella, or methel, and he states that Anguillara believed it to be identical with the narcotic hippomanes of Theocritus.

The seeds of this species continue to be used widely in India. Capt. Thomas Hardwicke while traveling in 1796 between Hurdwar and Sirinagur, British India, found it common in every part of the mountains where there were villages. The natives were well acquainted with its narcotic properties, and used an infusion of its seeds to increase the intoxicating powers of their spirituous liquors.17

Dr. John Fleming, in his Catalogue of Indian Medicinal Plants and Drugs, states that Datura stramonium is not found in Hindustan, but that D. metel grows wild in every part of the country. "The soporiferous and intoxicating qualities of the seeds are well known to the inhabitants, and it appears from the records of the native courts of justice that these seeds are still employed for the same licentious and wicked purposes as they were formerly, in the time of Acosta and Rumphius."18

Many other references to such uses are given by writers on India. Mr. Baden Powell observed a series of samples in an exhibit at Lahore, illustrating the criminal methods of using the drug in Upper India. It included raw seeds, roasted seeds, essence of the seeds, and flour, sugar, and tobacco which had been drugged with them. He states that this drug is used by the thugs to stupefy their victims; and, that it is derived from both the white and purple datura. For use as a poison the seeds are [549] parched and reduced to a fine powder which is easily mixed with various articles of food, tobacco, etc., and that an essence is prepared by distilling the seeds with water, 10 drops of which is sufficient to render a man insensible for two days.19

Seeds of the typical forms used as drugs in India have recently been secured for the writer by the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction, United States Department of Agriculture. It is proposed to grow them on the Arlington Farm, where the plant shown on plate 2 was propagated. This species, like our own Datura stramonium, is a source of a valuable alkaloid identical in its effects with atropine.

American Daturas allied to the metel nut
Datura innoxia Miller (Plate 3. Figure 4)

Hernandez, in his account of the medical plants of New Spain, describes a species of Datura of Eastern Mexico, having leaves clothed with soft hairy pubescence, which can be no other than the Datura innoxia of Miller. This plant was sometimes called Nacazcul, from the resemblance of its flattened seeds to a miniature human ear. It was also known as Toloatzin ("Inclined-head") on account of its nodding capsules. The name toloatzin, modified to the form "toloache," came to be applied to several distinct species of Datura. It has been recently suggested that the name was primarily applied to an arborescent Datura with pendent flowers, commonly known as Floripondio; but this can not possibly be true, since all the arborescent Daturas have unarmed fruits, and the fruits of the Toloatzin are described as spiny. Moreover, the Floripondios are all of South American origin, and seldom produce fruit in Mexico.

According to Hernandez's description, the plant called Nacazcul, or Toloatzin, is a kind of Jamestown weed (tlapatl) growing in the Province of Huexotzinco, now included in the State of Pueblo. It has spreading branches, white woody roots and ill-smelling softly hairy leaves, which Hernandez compared to those of a grapevine in form. Its fruit is globose and spiny, but at length it loses the spines. The seeds are of a yellow color and resemble those of a radish (semen est fulvum raphanino simile).

This plant was common in waste places and in the fields of Pahuatlan. It was highly esteemed by the natives as a remedy for many complaints. The dry seeds, ground and mixed with pitch, were used in setting broken bones and were wonderfully efficient in curing sprains and dislocations. In using them the Indians applied feathers and bound the broken member with splints; then they took the patient to the temexcalli, or vapor baths, repeating the treatment as often as might be necessary. From the [550] leaves of the plant an anodyne was made and administered as a remedy for the pains of the whole body and also for the "French sickness." A poultice for external application, was also made of them, with the addition of yellow capsicum; but warning was given that an excessive amount be not administered lest the patient be seized with madness and become the victim of "various and vain imaginations."

In Antonio Recchi's edition of Hernandez (1651) a note is appended to the original description stating that Nacazcul is a species of tlapatl, or Datura, which itself is allied to Hyoscyamus. The capsule of this plant is apparently four-celled, but when it matures it is found to be really two-celled, each cell containing many seed embedded in a spongy substance as in Hyoscyamus.

It is this plant that Dunal in De Candolle's Prodromus called Datura metel, in spite of the fact that its stem, according to his own description, is densely pubescent or hairy ("caule *** denso pubescente subvilloso"), its leaves on both sides densely pubescent, and its calyx sparsely so; features which separate it at once from the true Asiatic Datura metel L., the dark-colored form of which, called Dutra nigra by Rumphius, Dunal erroneously cites as a synonym of the American species, while calling Rumphiu's white-flowered Dutra by Nees's name, Datura alba, instead of by its earlier and perfectly valid name, Datura metel, established by Linnaeus in the first edition of his Species Plantarum. In figure 5 the fruits of the two species are shown.

Ololiuhqui, the magic plant of the Aztecs
Datura meteloides Dunal (Plate 4)

The identity of this plant was for long time doubtful, owing to the fact that its Aztec name was also applied to certain species of Convolvulaceae, or morning-glories. It was even described and figured as an Ipomoea by Hernandez. It is not surprising that it should have been so confused; for its trumpet-shaped flower, like that of the [551] closely allied D. discolor, strongly suggests a morning-glory (See pls. 4 and 5.). Like the Nacazcul (Datura innoxia) above described, it was the source of a medicine reputed to be efficacious in curing the "French sickness" and also for, mending broken bones. Padre Sahagan does not confuse it with a convolvulus, nor does he state that the plant has a twining habit. He describes it as follows:
"There is an herb which is called coatlxoxouhqui [green snake weed]. It produces a seed called ololiuhqui which is intoxicating and maddening. This is administered in potions in order to harm those who are the objects of hatred. Those who eat it have visions of terrible things. Wizards or persons who wish to injure some one administer it in food or drink. The herb has medicinal properties as a remedy for gout; its seeds are ground up and applied to the part affected."
Hernandez, who received most of his information from the Indians, although erroneously figuring this plant as an Ipomoea, states that the priests of the Indians when they wished to hold converse with spirits and receive responses from them ate of it in order to throw themselves into a frenzy and to see a thousand phantasms revealed and presented to them, as in the case of Solanum maniacum of Dioscorides, with which this plant might possibly be identified. He adds: "It will not be a great mistake to omit telling where it grows, and it imports little that this herb be here depicted or that it should even become known to Spaniards."

From the foregoing statement it would appear that Hernandez was intentionally misleading in his account of the Ololiuhqui, and he did not wish its identity to be discovered. An interesting description of the use of Ololiuhqui by the Aztec priests, or payni, is given by Jacinto de la Serna, whose account, published in Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España, volume 104, page 163, follows:
"They have also great superstitions regarding a lentil-like seed which they call ololiuhqui, and also another larger drug, a root-called peyote, which they venerate as though they were divine. For in drinking these herbs they consult them like oracles regarding whatsoever maladies they may attempt to cure and whatsoever objects they wish to know about, whether lost or stolen, and those things which are beyond human knowledge, such as the origin of infirmities especially if they are chronic and of long standing and are attributed to witchcraft. In order to dispel doubts regarding this and also for other purposes they have recourse to these herbs through the medium or their impostor medicine men, who, after drinking, reply to all their questions. The person who practices this office is called payni, which signifies the drinker of a purge or sirup. They also pay these persons very well; and if the medicine man is not very skillful in his office, or if he wishes to excuse himself from the trouble which the drinking of these philters would cause, they advise the sick to drink them or those in quest of lost objects who seek to discover where re those things are or in whose possession they may be.

These seeds, especially the Ololiuhqui, they hold in a great reverence as though they were God, burning candies before them and keeping them in small petaquillas, or boxes, expressly made for this purpose; and they place sacrificial [552] offerings to them on the altars of their oratories or on the canopies over them or in other secret places in their houses, so that when a search is made for them they can not easily be discovered; or they may place them between the idolillos of their ancestors, which they leave to guard them or, as it were, chained to them. And all this they do with such respect and reverence that when those who keep this seed in their possession are arrested or are asked for the paraphernalia with which they perform the ceremony of this drink, such as the tecomatillos, or little gourds and cups used to hold it, or for the seeds themselves they protest most vehemently that they have no knowledge of the matter whatever, not so much from fear of the judges before whom they are arraigned as for the reverence they feel for the sacred objects, which they do not wish to affront by a public demonstration of the ceremonial use of them, the burning of the seeds, etc."

Ceremonial use of Datura meteloides by the Zuñi Indians

It is interesting to note that the veneration of the narcotic Ololiuhqui extended far to the northward and was common to the Indians of New Mexico and certain tribes of California. Mrs. Matilda Coxe Stevenson, in the Thirtieth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, gives an account of this plant, held sacred by the Zuñi Indians, among who the following legend is current:
"In the olden time a boy and a girl, brother and sister (the boy's name was A'neglakya and the girl's name A'neglakyatsi'tsa), lived in the interior of the earth, but they often came to the outer world and walked about a great deal, observing closely everything they saw and heard and repeating all to their mother. This constant talking did not-please the Divine Ones (twin sons of the Sun Father). On meeting the boy and the girl the Divine Ones asked, "How are you?" and the brother and sister answered, "We are happy." (Sometimes A'neglakya and A'neglakyatsi'tsa appeared on the earth as old people.) They told the Divine Ones how they could make one sleep and see ghosts, and how they could make one walk about a little and see one who had committed theft. After this meeting the Divine Ones concluded that A'neglakya and A'neglakyatsi'tsa knew too much and that they should be banished for all time from this world; so the Divine Ones caused the brother and sister to disappear into the earth forever. Flowers sprang up at the spot where the two descended-flowers exactly like those which they wore on each side of their heads when visiting the earth.20 The Divine Ones called the plant "a'neglakya," after the boy's name. The original plant has many children scattered over the earth; some of the blossoms are tinged with yellow, some with blue, some with red, some are all white-the colors belonging to the four cardinal points."
The medicine of the Datura is sometimes called u'teaweko'hanna, "flowers white." In the accompanying illustration (fig. 6) the 10-angled corolla of Datura meteloides is shown, together with the 5-angled Datura metel of the Old World.

The use of Datura meteloides appears to have been widely spread throughout the southwestern United States. Miss Alice Eastwood, while exploring in southwestern Utah, came upon an abundance of its seeds and seed pods "in the ruins of the ancient people who once filled this land, and guarded every spring with towers of stone."21 Stephen Powers found the same species used as an intoxicant and hypnotic by the priests and wizards of the Yokuta Indians living on the banks of the Tule River and Lake Tule, California;22 and the late Edward Palmer, who also encountered it in California, states that certain tribes in that State gave it to their young women, to stimulate them in dancing. He also states that an extract from its root is used as an intoxicant by Pai Utes.23

Othr authorities describe its use by the Mariposa Indians of California, including the Noches and Yakuts, already mentioned, in the ceremonial initiation of their youths into manhood; and the custom of the medicine men of the Hualpais, or Walapais, to utter oracular prophecies while intoxicated by it.24

That this species should have been classed by the Aztecs with the Convolvulaceae, or morning-glories, is not at all surprising. In a recent article, by Willard N. Clute, published in the American [554] Botanist, it is described and figured under the name of the "desert trumpet flower," and the author describes it clustering along the mesa on the morning of a snake dance performed at Walpi, adding its perfume, like incense, to the religious ceremonial of the Hopi Indians. The flowers, like many of the Convolvulaceae, open at a certain hour of the day. They, and also the seed, bear a close resemblance to those of the Old World Datura metel, which was likened by Christoval Acosta to a convolvulus called in Spain "corregüela mayor," with trumpet-shaped flowers and seeds like lentils.25

In gathering the plant for ceremonial or medicinal purposes it is treated with great deference by the Luiseño Indians, who observe preliminary ceremonies, recalling the customs of certain Mexican tribes in gathering the narcotic peyote, and those of European herb gatherers of the Middle Ages in connection with the dreaded mandragora. Before beginning to dig it up the medicine man addresses the plant somewhat as follows: "I have come to get you, but not without a purpose. You were placed as medicine, and it is for medicine that I seek you. Be not humiliated, oh powerful one."26

According to Dr. John P. Harrington, of the Bureau of American Ethnology, the uses of this plant in religious ceremonies and in medicine were quite distinct in the minds of the Indians. After having partaken of it ceremonially a man not infrequently would remain under its influence for two days, during which he was left to himself. On regaining consciousness he was given warm water to drink and toward nightfall some atole, or gruel. Among the visions experienced by him while under the influence of the narcotic might perhaps be that of some particular animal or plant, which was not infrequently adopted as a supernatural helper or familiar spirit to accompany him through life and render him aid in times of doubt or trouble. For a month after having partaken of the drug it was customary for him not to go to bathe or to eat meat or fat and during this period the society of human beings was avoided and solitude was sought among the hills. The winter season was chosen for the administration of the drug it was supposed to be injurious if taken in warm weather; even in April the time for drinking it had passed.

Initiatory ceremonies of the Luiseño Indians

The use of Datura meteloides among the Indians of southern California recalls the huskanawing ritual of the Virginia Indians described below. The following account is based upon a description of the ceremony, given by Lucario Cuevish to Miss Constance God[555]dard Dubois, who, after describing the beautiful large flowers, opening toward evening and closing the next morning, speaks of the wide range of the plant in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Instead of the seeds it is the root of the plant which is used by these Indians as a narcotic.

The plant itself is called by the Luiseños Naktamush, or Naktomush; the ceremony is known as the mani or manish-mani. When it grows dark the masters of the ceremony, called paha, go from house to house to collect the candidates for initiation, sometimes carrying in their arms little boys who have, already, fallen to sleep to the place of assembly. The strictest silence is observed, and it is necessary that the paha be a shaman, or wizard skilled in magic. A large tamyush, or stone bowl, is placed before the chief, who, sitting in the darkness, pounds with a stone mano, or pestle, the dry scraped root of the plant, to the accompaniment of a weird chant, while the boys stand waiting. The powdered root is then passed through a basket-sieve back into the stone bowl and water is poured upon it. The boys are enjoined to keep silence. As each boy kneels in turn before the big bowl to drink the infusion, his head is supported by the hand of the master of ceremonies, who raises it when enough has been taken. It is a solemn occasion, a spiritual rebirth, suggesting the rites of baptism or confirmation. During the entire ceremony both the men and the boys are quite nude. When the drink has been administered to all the candidates, dances are performed in the darkness, accompanied by cries in imitation of birds and beasts; and when these are finished the candidates are marched round a fire, chanting a ceremonial song. As the effects of the narcotic plant overcome them, one by one they fall to the ground and are carried to another place and left until they regain consciousness. After this the dancing is resumed and kept up through the entire night. At daylight they return to the place where the drink was administered, and after a day of fasting they witness feats of magic performed by the shamans, from whom, after having been dressed in feathers and painted, they receive wonder-working sticks. The boys are also instructed by their elders in certain mysteries and rules of conduct, somewhat corresponding to one's duties toward God and to one's neighbor, as taught in the catechism. The initiatory ceremony is followed by two or three weeks of abstinence from salt and meat, after which a ceremony with a rope, called wana-wut, is performed. When this is finished the candidates are free.

Datura discolor of the Southwestern United States (Plate 5)

Closely allied to Datura meteloides, but differing from it in the size, and color of its flowers and seeds, Datura discolor Bernh., a species to which very little attention has been paid, and which has commonly been confused in herbaria with other species from which [556] it is easily distinguished. Its most striking characteristic is the black color of the seeds and the violet-striped throat of the flaring 10-toothed trumpet-shaped corolla (See p1. 5).

Mr. O. F. Cook, in his field notes of 1916, records this species as occurring, together with Datura meteloides, in irrigated fields of a Pima village called Santan. In comparing the two species he notes that Datura discolor has smaller flowers, with a narrower corolla tube and a more abruptly expanded trumpet-shaped, rather than funnel-shaped, limb, and the throat of the corolla longitudinally striped with violet-colored lines. The calyx tube is prominently angled pr prismatic in form, drying back nearly to the base soon after flowering, and leaving the base itself to expand, very much as in the case of D. meteloides. The nodding capsule (fig. 7) has longer spines, finely pubescent when young. The fruit is fleshy at first, although not so juicy as in D. meteloides, at length becoming brittle and dry, but never hard and woody as in Datura stramonium. The seeds are black, as stated above, not light brown as in D. meteloides, and they are smaller than, in the latter species. The fresh foliage of D. discolor has only a trace of the pleasant odor given off by the seeds and bruised tissues of D. meteloides. This odor is not the fragrance of the flowers, nor the nauseous smell of the Jamestown weed, but a pleasant odor suggesting parched sesame or others seeds rich in oil. It is easy to believe that this pleasant flavor was attractive to primitive seed eaters, who were thus led to experience the intoxication of Datura, a mysterious effect which caused people in many parts of the world to attribute to related plants a supernatural power, making them "as gods," able to confer at will with spirits. At Bard, California, on the Yuma Reclamation Project, Datura meteloides is rare, and the smaller-flowered Datura discolor abundant.

The Jamestown weed and its allies (Plate 6)

Hernandez, in his great work on the products of New Spain, already referred to, gives an account of Datura stramonium under the heading De Tlapatl: Stramonio, accompanied by an illustration rather [557] crude, but sufficiently accurate for its identification. Both white-flowered and purple-flowered forms of this species occur in Mexico as well as in the United States, the purple flowered usually called "Datura tatula," but not differing specifically from the white-flowered, to which they bear the same relation as the colored forms of the oriental Datura metel to the typical white form. The species varies also in the form of its capsules. These differ from the nodding capsules of Datura metel and its allies in being erect and in regularly dehiscing when mature (see p1. 5); they are spiny in the typical form, but unarmed in the variety which has been called Datura inermis (fig. 8). It seems strange that botanists should have attributed the white-flowered form to Europe and the colored form of the same species to America. Linnaeus in establishing the species declared it to be American. Observations on growing plants show that both the white-flowered and the purple-flowered forms may bear either smooth or prickly capsules, and that of the antagonistic color characters the purple is the dominant and the white-flowered the recessive form (See Journ. Heredity 12: 184, 1921).

Origin of the name Jamestown weed

The narcotic properties of Datura stramonium were known to our own southern Indians as well as to the Mexicans. Hernandez calls attention to the fact that its fruit causes insanity if eaten incautiously. That this is true is shown by the following anecdote taken from Robert Beverly's History and Present State of Virginia, in his account "Of the wild fruits of the country." It appears that the soldiers sent to Jamestown to quell the uprising known as Bacon's Rebellion (1676) gathered young plants of this species and cooked it as a pot herb, possibly mistaking it, owing to the shape of its leaves, for a solanaceous pot herb or perhaps learning of its narcotic effects from the Indians of that region, who used it as a ceremonial intoxicant. His account is as follows:
"The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take it to be the Plant so call'd) is supposed to be one of the greatest Coolers in the World. This being an early Plant, was gather'd very young for a boil'd salad, by some of the Soldiers sent thither, to pacifie the troubles of Bacon; and some of them eat plentifully of it, the Effect of which was a very pleasant Comedy; for they turn'd natural Fools upon it for several Days: One would blow up a Feather in the Air; another wou'd dart Straws at it with much Fury; and another stark naked was sitting up in a Corner, like a Monkey, grinning [558] and making Mows at them; a Fourth Would fondly kiss, and paw his Companions, and snear in their Faces, with a Countenance more antick, than any in a Dutch Droll. In this frantick Condition they were confined, lest they should in their Folly destroy themselves; though it was observed, that all their Actions were full of Innocence and good Nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallow'd in their own Excrements, if they had not been prevented. A Thousand such simple Tricks they play'd, and after Eleven Days, return'd themselves again, not remembring anything that had passed."27

Huskanawing ceremony of the Virginia Indians

In the eastern United States the Algonquins and other tribes of Indians practiced a ceremony comparable with that of the California Indians,' already described, in initiating their boys into the dignity of manhood. In the ritual an intoxicating medicine (wysoccan) was administered to the candidates, the principal ingredient of which was undoubtedly Datura stramonium. The following account of this is given by Beverly in his History of Virginia:
"The solemnity of huskanawing is commonly practiced once every fourteen or sixteen years, or oftener, as their young men happen to grow up. It is n institution or discipline which all young men must pass before they can be admitted to be of the number of the great men, officers, or cockarouses of the nation; whereas, by Capt. Smith's relation, they were only set apart to supply the priesthood. The whole ceremony of huskanawing is performed after the following manner:
The choicest and briskest young men of the town, and such only as have acquired some treasure by their travels and hunting, are chosen out by the rulers to be huskanawed; and whoever refuses to undergo this process dares not remain among them. Several of those odd preparatory fopperies are premised in the beginning, which have been before related; but the principal part of the business is to carry them into the woods, and there keep tem under confinement, and destitute of all society for several months, giving them no other sustenance but the infusion, or decoction, of some poisonous, intoxicating roots; by virtue of which physic, and by the severity of the discipline which they undergo, they become stark, staring mad; in which raving condition, they are kept eighteen or twenty days. During these extremities, they are shut up, nighnt and day in a strong inclosure, made on purpose; one of which I saw belonging to the Pamunky Indians, in the year 1694. It was in shape like a sugar loaf, and every way open like a lattice for the air to pass through. In this cage, thirteen young men had been huskanawed, and had not been a month set at liberty when I saw it. Upon this occasion, it is pretended that these poor creatures drink so much of that water of Lethe, that they perfectly lose the remembrance of all former things, even of their parents, their treasure, and their language. When the doctors find that they have drunk sufficiently of the wysoccan (so they call this mad potion), they gradually restore them to their senses again, by lessening the intoxication of their diet; but before they are perfectly well, they bring them into their towns, while they are still wild and crazy, through the violence of the medicine. After this they are very fearful of discovering anything of their former remem[559]brance; for if such a thing should happen to any of them, they must immediately be huskanawed again; and the second time, the usage is so severe, that seldom any one escapes with life. Thus they must pretend to have forgot the very use of their tongues, so as not to be able to speak, nor understand anything that is spoken, till they learn it again. Now, whether this be real or counterfeit, I don't know; but certain it is, that they will not for some time take notice of any body, nor anything with which they were before acquainted, being still under the guard of their keepers, who constantly wait upon them everywhere till they have learnt all things perfectly over again. Thus they unlive their former lives, and commence men by forgetting that they ever have been boys."28
The Jamestown weed and its close allies form a distinct group differing from all other Daturas in having erect capsules which split open regularly into four parts, as shown on plate 6. They vary considerably in the color of the stems and flowers and in the thorniness of the capsules. Specimens of the "thorny apple of Peru," were grown from seed collected by Dr. J. N. Rose in South America. The plants grew vigorously at Washington, but the flowers were smaller than in our own Datura stramonium, with the purple-flowered form of which (Datura stramonium tatula) it proved botanically identical. The smooth-fruited form has been separated from the type under the name Datura inermis, but both the spiny and the smooth forms shown in figure 8 grew from seeds of the same plant. Attention is called to the form of the corolla, as shown in figure 8, the teeth of which are separated by distinct sinuses, or notches, while in the sacred Datura of the Zuñis, shown in figure 6b, the corolla teeth alternate with salient obtuse angles, which in the smaller-flowered Datura discolor (pl. 5) are tipped with points giving the flowers the appearance of 10-pointed morning glories. Humboldt and Bonpland collected a dwarf oak-leaved Datura (fig. 9) in Mexico, which was described under the name of Datura quercifolia. This species is frequently confused with Datura discolor mentioned above, but is readily distinguished from that species by its notched five-toothed corolla and its erect seed pods. Another closely allied Mexican species of this group is Datura villosa Fernald, characterized by hairy branches, petioles, and calyx.

Aquatic torna-loco of Mexico (Figure 10)

This plant, described in 1800 by Ortega from a specimen of Mexican origin growing in the Royal Botanical Garden at Madrid, has [560] marked narcotic properties, on account of which it is called by the Mexicans Torna-loca ("maddening weed"). By the ancient Aztecs, who held it sacred, it was called Sister of the Ololiuhqui (Datura meteloides). It was also called Atlinan, a name applied to several other water plants. In treating certain maladies their priests addressed to it the following prayer:
"I invoke thee, my mother, thou of the precious waters: Who is the god, or who the so powerful one that wishes to destroy and consume my enchantment? Ea! Come thou, Sister of the Green Woman Oioliuqui, of her whom I am about to go and leave in the seven caves, where the green pain, the brown pain, will conceal itself. Go and stroke with thy hands tile entrails of the possessed one, that thou mayst prove thy might and fall not into ignominy."

Tecomaxochitl of the Aztecs

Closely allied to the genus Datura are the climbing Solandras of tropical and subtropical America, one of which was figured by Hernandez under the name Tecomaxochitl.30 Plants of this genus contain a midriatic alkaloid which was named solandrine by Petrie (1907) and nor-hyoscyamine by Carr and Reynolds (1912).31 The investigation which led to its discovery was the result of the effects of the sap of Solandra longiflora accidentally squirted into the eyes of a gardener while pruning a hedge of it, causing the pupils to be intensely dilated, as in the effects of atropine.

Plate 7 is a photograph of Solandra hartwegii N. E. Brown, grown in one of the Government conservatories at Washington. The flowers of this species resemble in form the angel's trumpet (Datura suaveolens), and are not contracted at the throat as in Hernandez's figure, or in Solandra longiflora. From the latter they also differ in color, the corolla at length becoming yellow with a purple medium [561] stripe on each lobe, and the stamens with pale yellow filaments and purplish anthers. The purple-petioled deep green leaves are leathery and glossy, differing from those of the closely allied Solandra guttata Don in being perfectly glabrous on both faces, instead of velvety.

The Mexican Tecomaxochitl is described by Hernandez as having leaves resembling those of a lemon, large flowers yellow on the outside, purple within, and white stamens. There are other species of Tecomaxochitl, he adds, with flowers entirely yellow and with smaller and more acuminate leaves. The flowers, which have the fragrance of lilies, were held in high esteem by the Aztec chiefs and were planted and cultivated with great care in their pleasure gardens.32 According to Sessé and Mociño the water contained in the unopened flower buds was reputed by the Indians to be efficacious as a remedy for certain affections of the eyes.

Narcotic tree daturas of South America

The tree daturas of South America, called Campanillas, or Floripondios, by the Spanish-Americans, have been segregated by certain botanists as a distinct genus, under the name Brugmansia33 and Pseudodatura.34

Brugmansia candida, the type of this group, is a synonym not of Datura arborea Linnaeus (pls. 8 and 9), but of Datura arborea Ruiz and Pavon (fig. 11), which is specifically distinct from the former and which, according to the rules of priority must take the name Datura candida.35

Among the travelers and explorers who have called attention to the narcotic properties of these plants are de la Condamine, Humboldt and Bonpland, and Tschudi.

M. de la Condamine, while exploring the headwaters of the Rio Marañon in 1743, observed the use of a floripondio as a narcotic by the Omagua Indians inhabiting its banks. This plant he referred to Datura arborea, a species based by Linnaeus on a plant first described by Père Feuillée. Very closely allied to the latter is Datura cornigera Hooker, a species with the calyx terminating in a hornlike point. Datura candida has very much larger flowers, with the principal nerves of the corolla terminating in long taillike appendages between which the margin is entire or rounded, and not cordate or notched. Its fruit, moreover, according to Ruiz and Pavon (see fig. 11), has at its base the persistent husklike calyx, while in the true Datura arborea the calyx falls off with the corolla and the fruit is round and peachlike (p1. 9). In addition to the species of this group al[563]ready mentioned, several others, closely allied to Datura arborea, have been described, including Datura aurea Lagerheim, which bears beautiful golden-yellow flowers; Datura dolichocarpa (Lagerh.) and D. versicolor (Lagerh.), which have very long and slender fruits; Datura suaveolens H. & B., distinguished by its inflated five-toothed calyx and its coherent anthers, which has a spindle-shaped fruit (fig. 12); and Datura pittieri Safford, a Colombian species, with narrowly oblong fruit (p1. 10). Differing from the species mentioned above in their narrower corolla and short inflated calyx and also in their fruits, which have a persistent husklike calyx about the base, are two red-flowered daturas, one of which with entire upper leaves was described by Ruiz and Pavon under the name Datura sanguinea, while the other, with the upper leaves coarsely toothed and densely velvety, has been recently segregated by the writer under the name Datura rosei. Still another recently described red-flowered species, Datura rubella Safford, is readily distinguished from the preceding by the long caudate apex of its calyx.

Datura suaveolens, the Angel's trumpet (Plate 11)

The tree datura most commonly cultivated in conservatories is Datura suaveolens, a species often miscalled D. arborea. As stated above, it can readily be distinguished by its coherent anthers and by its much inflated calyx, which never ends in a point but has several terminal teeth. Its chief distinction from Datura candida and D. arborea is the form of its fruit, which is spindle-shaped (Fig. 12.).

This is the "fleur trompette" of the French Antilles. It is widely cultivated in the West Indies. Willdenow attributes its origin to Mexico, but all the herbarium specimens of tree daturas from Mexico seen by the writer belong to the species Datura candida (Datura arborea R. & P., not D. arborea L.). Fruiting specimens in the United States National Herbarium were collected in the Province of Minas Geraes, Brazil, by Regnell. That this species seldom produces fruit in cultivation is in all probability due to the absence of the humming birds or sphingoid moths by which it is pollinated in its natural habitat. [564]

Datura sanguinea, the sacred narcotic of the Temple of the Sun (Plates 12 and 13)

Humboldt and Bonpland give an account of the use of a reddish-flowered Datura by the priests of the Temple of the Sun at Sagamoza, situated in the interior of what is now the Republic of Colombia. The narcotic prepared from it, locally called tonga, was declared by the natives of that region to be more efficacious than that prepared from the white-flowered Daturas. The following account of its use is given by Tschudi, who found it growing in the Peruvian Andes above the village of Matucanas:
"The Indians believe that by drinking the tonga they are brought into communication with the spirits of their forefathers. I once had an opportunity of observing an Indian under the influence of this drink. Shortly after having swallowed the beverage he fell into a heavy stupor; he sat with his eyes vacantly fixed on the ground, his mouth convulsively closed, and his nostrils dilated. In the course of about a quarter of an hour his eyes began to roll, foam issued from his half-opened lips, and his whole body was agitated by frightful convulsions. These violent symptoms having subsided, a profound sleep of several hours succeeded. In the evening I again saw this Indian. He was relating to a circle of attentive listeners the particulars of his vision, during which he alleged he had held communication with the spirits of his forefathers. He appeared very weak and exhausted. In former times the Indian sorcerers, when they pretended to transport themselves into the presence of their deities, drank the juice of the thorn-apple in order to work themselves into a state of ecstasy. Though the establishment of Christianity has weaned the Indians from their idolatry, yet it has not banished their old superstitions. They still believe that they can hold communications with the spirits of their ancestors, and that they can obtain from them a clue to the treasures concealed in the huacas, or graves; hence the Indian name of the thorn-apple huacacachu, or grave plant."
Closely allied to Datura sanguinea Ruiz & Pavon, which Doctor Rose collected near Ambate, Ecuador, is a species with equally narrow corolla, but easily distinguished from that species by the dense soft hairs clothing its coarsely toothed leaves (fig. 13); younger branches and peduncles. Doctor Rose collected it in 1918, in the vicinity of Cumbe, Ecuador, noting that the flowers were of a saffron yellow color. It is undoubtedly identical with the plant which Lindley figured under the name Brugmansia bicolor (Bot. Reg. 20, t. 1739, 1834), believing it to be the plant so called by Persoon (Synops., 1, 216, 1805). The latter, however, is a synonym of the true D. sanguinea, and is a pubescent (not woolly) plant with entire leaves.

This species I have named Datura rosei, in honor of Dr. J. N. Rose of the United States National Herbarium. Lagerheim, who mistook it for D. sanguinea, states that in the vicinity of Quito it is called [565] Huantuc, and that its seeds are used to make the fermented chicha of the natives more intoxicating. Its pollination, he states, is accomplished in certain localities through the agency of a humming bird, Docimastes ensifer.

Specimens of the true Datura sanguinea Ruiz & Pavon, quite distinct from the woolly-leaved plant, so called by Lagerheim and other authors, were collected in the Peruvian Andes in 1915 by Mr. O. F. Cook, to whom I am indebted for much valuable information regarding plants belonging to this genus. It grows in the form of a tree [566] somewhat smaller than the white-flowered Datura arborea L. and having a very different appearance from that species, with a more open habit, narrower leaves, and scarlet-and-orange flowers. At Ollantaytambo it is locally known as Puca Campancho, puca being the Quichua word for "red." Here it flowers abundantly, beginning in May. About the middle of July only a single small fruit of this species could be found in this locality, while trees of Datura arborea were bearing an abundance of fruit. Higher up, however, in the pass of Panticalla above Piñasñiocj, at an altitude of 12,000 feet, where there was frost every night, trees were found fruiting abundantly, showing it to be a hardy species, likely to grow in such localities as the California coast region. On plate 12 are shown specimens of flowers of this species collected by Mr. Cook, with leaves and peduncle pubescent but not densely woolly as in Datura rosei, and with the blades of the leaves entire instead of coarsely toothed or notched. On plate 13 are two fruits of the same species, the smaller collected by Mr. Cook at Ollantaytambo at an altitude of 9,500 feet, the larger at Piñasñiocj at an altitude of 12,000 feet.

It is not strange that the tree daturas above described, with their pendulous indehiscent fruit so very different in form from the erect four-valved capsules of Datura stramonium, should have been regarded as a distinct genus (Brugmansia) by botanists who were unfamiliar with the other groups. This proposed genus "differs from Datura in its treelike stem, its persistent longitudinally cleft calyx, at length quite deciduous, its two-celled ovary and unarmed indehiscent fruit."36 As a matter of fact, in most of the species, including Datura arborea (p1. 9), D. suaveolens (fig. 12), and D. pittieri (p1. 10) the calyx is not persistent; in D. suaveolens (pl. 11) it is five-toothed at the apex and not split more than in D. meteloides (p1. 4); while in Datura sanguinea (pl. 13) it persists until the fruit is quite ripe and is never deciduous. As for the ovary, it is really two-celled in all species of Datura. The fruit of Datura ceratocaula (fig. 10) is both unarmed and indehiscent, and none of the fruits of the section Dutra (pls. 1, 2, 3) are really dehiscent, but break up irregularly when quite mature.

It therefore follows that the tree daturas of South America can not be separated as a distinct genus on account of their split or deciduous calyx, their two-celled ovary, or their spineless indehiscent fruit. As for the essential parts of the flowers and the forms of the corolla they do not differ from those of other sections of Datura, with which they are connected by the marsh-loving torna-loca (Datura ceratocaula) of Mexico. [567]


1. The family Solanaceae includes a number of narcotic plants, some of them of Old World origin, others belonging to the New World, which have been used from remote antiquity as intoxicants and medicines.

2. These plants owe their virtues to certain midriatic alkaloids, principally to atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopalamine, to which may be added the more recently discovered solandrine, or nor-hyoscyamine.

3. Perhaps the most remarkable feature in connection with these plants is the independent discovery in remote parts of the world of their remarkable hypnotic effects, which have been attributed to magic, or to supernatural agencies, and have caused them to be regarded with dread.

4. Scarcely less remarkable is the independent utilization of distinct species in both the Old World and New in religious ceremonials, especially in oracular divination, in the discovery of hidden objects, and the foretelling of future events.

5. The shortage of certain imported medicines during the recent war has resulted in the cultivation of some of our own plants, especially the common Datura stramonium, as the source of a substitute for atropine. Other solanaceous plants of both North and South America might be similarly utilized.

6. The use of endemic plants of America by the magicians and medicine men of various native tribes illustrates, in the most striking manner, the process of discovering the virtues and the utilization of plants of primitive people, and throws valuable light upon the early history of magic and medicine.

7. After a careful study of all the species of Datura it does not seem advisable to separate the floripondios, or tree-daturas of South America, from the rest as a distinct genus.

8. For a classification of the daturas and descriptions of new species mentioned in the present paper the reader is referred to "Synopsis of the Genus Datura", in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, vol. 11, pages 173-189, 1921.


1 - These plants owe their virtues to certain alkaloids, principally hyoscyamine and scopalamine, contained chiefly in the petioles, midribs, and secondary nerves of the leaves; also in the pistils of the flowers and the germs of the mature seeds. See E. Schmidt, "Ueber die Alkaloide einiger mydriatischwirkender Solanaceen," In Arch. d. Pharm. 243; 303. 1905.

2 - Romeo and Juliet, act 4, scene 1.

3 - Ibid., act 4, scene 3.

4 - Othello, act 3, scene 3.

5 - Antony and Cleopatra, act 1, scene 3.

6 - Henry VI, second part, act 3, scene 2. See also Bulleine's Bulwarke of Defense against Sickness, p. 41, 1579.

7 - Acosta, Christoval, Tractado de las Drogas y medicines de las Indies Orientales, p. 68, 1578.

8 - It is interesting to note in this place that Datura stramonium, the common Jamestown weed, which many botanists believe to be of Asiatic origin is called in Japan yoshu chosenasagao, yoshu, signifying "foreign."

9 - Linnaeus, Hort. Cliffort., p. 56, 1737.

10 - See Britton and Brown, Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada, and the British Possessions, second edition, vol. 3, p. 170, 1913, where this name is applied to a plant said to be a "native of tropical America." See also Cray's New Manual of Botany, seventh edition, p. 717, where the same plant is declared to be "adventitious from tropical America."

11 - Trimen, Handb. Fl. Ceyl., vol. 3, p. 238, 1895.

12 - Nees von Esenbeck in Trans. Linn. Soc., vol. 17, p. 73, 1834.

13 - Hooker, Fl. Br. Ind., 8, 243, 1885.

14 - Miller's Gardn. Dict., ed. 8, Datura No. 5, 1768.

15 - See Watt's Dict. Econ. Prod. India, vol. 8, pp. 32-36, 1890, under Datura fastuosa, the black Datura, and D. fastuosa var. alba, the white Datura.

16 - Rumphius refers to it as follows: "Per totam fore Indiam, nota est haec planta, in uno tamen loco magis nocet quam in altero, saltem quae in Canara Malabara crescit, multo videtur efficacior esse Amboinensi & Moluocensi." Haerb. Amb., p. 243, 1747.

17 - Asiatick Researches, vol. 6, p. 351, 1799.

18 - Asiatick Researches, vol. 11, p. 165. 1810.

19 - See Watt, Dict. Econom. Prod. India, vol. 2, p. 34, 1890.

20 - This flower is represented in Zuñi and in other pueblos by interlacing colored yarns around the desiccated fruit of Martynia lousiana Mill, which is attached to a leather band passing around the head. On the forehead the band is covered by the bangs of the maiden wearing the flower. This headdress is worn by women in the dance. Students have described it as symbolizing the squash blossom, an error only too pleasing to the Zuñi, as the blossom of the Datura is most sacred to them.

21 - See Zoe, vol. 3, p. 360, 1892.

22 - See Contr. N. Am. Ethn., vol. 3, pp. 380 and 428, 1877.

23 - Am. Nat., vol. 12, p. 650, 1878.

24 - See Bourke John G., "On the Border with Crook", p. 165. 1892.

25 - Christoval Acosta, Tractado de las drogas y medicinas de las Indiaa Orientales, pp. 86, 87, 1587.

26 - For similar apologetic preliminaries, practiced by the Indians of Mexico in cutting down trees and gathering narcotic and medicinal plants, see Safford, W. E., "An Aztec Narcotic (Lophophora Williamsii), Journ. of Heredity, vol. 6, pp. 291-311, 1915.

27 - Beverly, Robert, History and Present State of Virginia, bk. 2, p. 24, 1705.

28 - Robert Beverly, History of Virginia, pp. 102-163, 1855.

29 - Jacinto de la Serna, "Manual de Ministros para el conocimiento de Idolatries y extirpacion de ellas," in Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España, vol. 104, pp. 159-160.

30 - Hernandez, op. cit., p. 408, 1651.

31 - See Petrie, J. M., "Solandrine, a new midriatic alkaloid," Proc. Linn. Soc. of New South Wales, vol. 32, p. 789, 1907; ibid., "The occurrence of nor-hyoscyamine in Solandra longiflora," Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales, vol. 41, p. 815, 1916.

32 - Hernandez, ed. Matr., vol. 1, pp. 286, 287, 1790.

33 - Persoon, Syn., vol. 1, p. 216, 1805; Lagerheim, G., Monographie der ecuadorianischen Arten der Gattung Brugmansia Pers., 1895.

34 - Van Zijp, C., Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Ned. Indie, vol. 80, pp. 24-28, 1920.

35 - See Safford, W. E., A synopsis of the genus Datura, Journ. Wash. Acad. Sci., vol. 11, p. 182, 1921. See also Journal of Heredity (Washington), vol. 12, 1921.

36 - Lagerheim, G., in Engler's Jahrb., vol. 20, p. 662, 1895.

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