Large thorn apple

Large thorn apple

Datura ferox (Solanaceae)

Common Name:

Large thorn apple

Scientific Name:

Datura ferox (Solanaceae)

Alternative common names:

Long-spined thorn-apple; white stinkweed (English); grootstinkblaar (Afrikaans)


The large thorn apple an erect annual growing up to 1,5m high with sparsely hairy to smooth, pale green stems. The large leaves have a jagged profile and are dark green above and paler below, and are sparsely hairy and bad smelling. Solitary white, funnel-shaped flowers appear in summer during October to March, followed by brown hardened fruit 

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Tropical America.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

CARA 2002 - Category 1 NEMBA - 1b

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Found throughout all provinces in South Africa.

How does it spread?

Mainly by seed dispersal.

Why is it a problem?

It competes with indigenous species.

What does it look like?

General description: An erect, sub-herbaceous annual growing up to 1,5m high. The stem is sparsely hairy and pale green in colour.
Leaves: Relatively large leaves up to 200mm long with an irregular strongly toothed margin, dark green upper surface and paler underneath the surface of the leaves.
Flowers: Funnel-shaped white flowers up to 65mm long appear during summer from October-March.
Fruit/Seeds: Produces brown fruit capsules covered with hard spines and numerous tiny black seeds.

Does the plant have any uses?


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