Desert Thorn-Apple
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Desert Thorn-Apple
P Introduced Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Desert Thorn-Apple
Botanical name: Datura discolor    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Datura thomasii

Desert Thorn-Apple is an upright or low-lying shrub that can grow to 4.5 feet tall. The ovate-shaped leaves can be entire or toothed. Its leaves are light green, and the stalks have prominent purple stripes. The species name discolor, meaning "various colors," refers to its trumpet-shaped flowers, which are white in the bell, and pale to dark violet from the narrow part of the bell to the base. Desert Thorn-Apple has the largest flowers, up to 17 cm in diameter, of any Datura species, which makes it attractive for garden cultivation. The flowers open for only one night and wilt the following day. Its seed capsule is thorny like most other Daturas, and can be up to 7.5 cm long and 6.5 cm in diameter. It is a sun-loving plant which does well underneath overhanging leaves that can protect its flowers from damage by rainfall. Desert Thorn-Apple is native from Mexico to the Southwestern U.S., and the Caribbean Islands.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Palar River basin, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.

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