Lady Miss Deadly, Datura Metel

Datura metel is classified as an herb growing to three feet tall.  This description does not begin to describe the plant.  The upfacing flowers are incredibly beautiful; they open late, and fade early in the heat of the following day.  Lots of flowers have this habit-morning glories, moonflowers and daylilies are but a few.  None of the aforementioned have the size, substance or presence of datura metel, but they are easy to care for.  Cultivating datura metel is not for the faint of heart.  Should you handle this plant-wash your hands.  

Their  felted leaves are large; the plants love the heat.  A summer planting asking for considerable scale and enormous impact-datura comes to mind.  Though there is a hybrid known as Belle Blanche, I favor the species.  It grows vigorously, and sometimes survives my Michigan weather. 

The giant and elongated buds-I would think a photographic essay about datura would certainly merit a book.  The flowers interest me, no matter the stage.  I would not describe any annual flowers in terms of their drama-save datura.  The Sarah Bernstein of annual plants-datura could be best described as pure beauty.  This pure beauty comes with a price tag.   

How eloquent, this faded blossom.  Deadheading datura-dangerous.  Every part of the plant is highly toxic.   Infused with the poisonous tropane alkyloid; if you grow datura, you are aware you need to wash thoroughly after handling this plant.   Taking off a leaf results in a foul and scary smell  that says all.  Danger Miss Deadly-that would be datura. 

The danger does not deter me from growing datura.  I am able to keep my hands out of my mouth after handling them, and keep every dead bloom off the ground.  The foul smell of the leaves speaking of danger is more than offset by the delicious perfume of the flowers.  This old English iron cistern we placed at the road; the daturas say hello and welcome.  The sun at 7am will soon influence the blooms to close, and drop.  By 9am, the late afternoon early morning display is finished.  

I took this photograph of the cistern at 5:45 am.  In full sun, the daturas handle the light and the heat.  The foliage is medium green; the leaves hairy.   Very early on, they look engagingly bluish. Does not your garden read so differently, given the time of day?  I so like plants that respond to light; datura, entirely light reactive.  

A sunny morning-they are not deterred.  Rob moved this cistern to the road, and planted these datura.  Every day, this chunk of a cistern pot loaded with datura, double petunias and euphorbia says hi when I pull up.  I would be hard pressed to ignore this.  A big and bold herb that can deal with heat-my kind of plant. 

The flowers-incredible.  Really incredible. A datura shrub in full bloom-who would not take time to marvel about the miracle that is nature?

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