Datura discolor – Desert Thorn-apple

Datura discolor - Desert Thorn-apple (night flower)

Datura discolor - Desert Thorn-apple (closing morning flower)Datura discolor - Desert Thorn-apple (fruit)

Datura discolor - Desert Thorn-apple

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Datura discolor

Common Name: Desert Thorn-apple

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert. It grows in desert washes, along roadsides, in drainage ditches, and in other disturbed areas with loose soil.

Flower Color: White

Flowering Season: Summer

Height: To 2 feet (61 cm) tall, but usually less

Description: The showy flowers are nocturnal and open around sundown. The flowers are tubular, up to 6 1/3 inches (16 cm) long, held erect (not drooping), and have a glabrous corolla with short lobe tips and a distinctive purple-streaked throat. The flowers are followed by spiny, drooping, minutely hairy, rounded fruits that contain black seeds. The fruit is initially green, but it dries to a brown color. The leaves are green, alternate, broadly oval-shaped, and coarsely toothed.

No other Datura species found here has purple streaks in the floral tube.

Special Characteristics

Allergenic – Skin contact with the sap may cause contact dermatitis in susceptible persons.

Poisonous – The plants are poisonous and contain toxic tropane alkaloids.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae – Potato family
Genus: Datura L. – jimsonweed
Species: Datura discolor Bernh. – desert thorn-apple

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map