01 May 2017

Downy Thorn-apple at bottom of Raydah Escarpment – Abha

Whilst birding the bottom of the Raydah Escarpment and very steep reserve with plenty of plant life from top to bottom, I came across a Datura. I was not able to identify the plant so asked Irene Linning who is a plant expert and who previously lived in Saudi Arabia if she could identify it for me. Irene said it was Datura innoxia, that grows high up in rocky areas and has hanging spiny fruits. Datura innoxia, is sometimes called by its common name Downy Thorn-apple. It is native to Central and South America, and introduced in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. It is an annual shrubby plant that typically reaches a height of 0.6 to 1.5 metres. Its stems and leaves are covered with short and soft grayish hairs, giving the whole plant a grayish appearance. It has elliptic entire-edged leaves with pinnate venation. All parts of the plant emit a foul odor when crushed or bruised. The flowers are white, trumpet-shaped and 12–19 cm long. They first grow upright, and later incline downward. It flowers from early summer until late fall. All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans and other animals, including livestock and pets. In some places it is prohibited to buy, sell or cultivate Datura plants.
Datura innoxia