The plant is mainly grown in the hotter regions of Spain and is very attractive with white trumpet like flowers appearing on a daily basis and horse chestnut like fruits. Many an ex pat has unwittingly got this attractive plant growing in their garden without realizing the dangers.
Also known as the Jimson weed, the Stinkweed, the Devil’s cucumber, The Devil’s trumpet and the mad seeds plant, The Datura plant can cause hallucinations, delirium, coma and even death in children and animals if ingested and even kill in some cases
In the United States, the plant is called Jimson weed, named after a town Jameson Virginia, when in 1676, British soldiers were drugged with it whilst trying to suppress a rebellion. They had taken the young leaves and boiled them and used them in a salad, eating plenty because of the general feeling of happiness it gave them. For eleven days they rolled around and generally acted as thought they were insane. They were contained for their own safety and eventually they came to and remembered nothing!
One of the biggest problems of the plant is that it self seeds profusely, and as the spiny balls are full of dozens of seeds, new plants will appear each year. No amount of ripping out the parent plant seems to prevent them from reappearing and soil quality is of no concern, they can grow just as well in dry poor soil as in rich soil.
So if you have these plants in your garden and you do not wish to remove them, take care to always wash your hands after handling them, NEVER ingest the leaves or plant material, and make sure you do not feed them to the chickens!