Brugmansia and Datura look alike, but they are actually different plants. Here are a few tricks to tell them apart.
Both are called “trumpets” in common language.
- Brugmansia – “Angel’s trumpets” – are always showering blessings from above
- whereas Datura – “Devil’s trumpets” – always want to catch these gifts for themselves!
Difference between Brugmansia and Datura
There are quite a few ways to tell Brugmansia and Datura apart. Here they are summarized in a short table:
|Part of the plant||Brugmansia||Datura|
|Flower||Dangling, hangs down from above||Upright, stands up from below|
|Flower color||White, peach, yellow||White, purple|
|Bearing||Shrub growing to a small tree||Low-lying, rarely exceeds a yard in height (1 m)|
|Stem or Trunk||Turns woody and thickens||Stays green and dies back|
|Seed pod||Smooth with pointed tips,|
shaped like bean pods
|Roundish with spikes on the husk,|
like a chestnut
|Seed pod||Fuzz on the skin of the pod||No hairs or fuzz, slick skin|
|Seed spreading||Pod slits open, decays,|
seeds fall off
|Pod bursts open,|
seeds propelled to a distance
Similarity between Datura and Brugmansia
Both Datura and Brugmansia belong to the same family, the Solanaceae family. They share certain attributes in common.
- Fragrance – both Datura and Brugmansia release a strong, heady fragrance that is delightful. In confined areas it can even become overpowering.
- Flower – Trumpet shaped! Bugles grown for the armies of angels and demons alike!
- Leafage – leaves are typically shaped like those of other solanaceae plants. Leaves have wavy edges for most varieties. For example, they’re similar to leaves from eggplant and potato.
- Toxicity – both Brugmansia and Datura are toxic from root to tip. Avoid growing if your pets tend to nibble anything within reach.
Note: if your toddler or child has eaten brugmansia or datura plant parts, get in touch with emergency or poison services in your area immediately.
Which is best – Brugmansia or Datura?
Depending on the size of your garden, you might prefer either Brugmansia and Datura.
Brugmansia will grow rather large, up to several yards tall. It grows into a tree-like shrub.
You can guide it along a lattice to ensure it doesn’t fall over. This is especially relevant when growing it along a wall, where growth is imbalanced.
Datura stays rather small, and tends to send new branches out from the base when older ones die off.
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Unfurling yellow Brugmansia or Datura by titanium22 under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Datura pod and seeds by Gregory under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Brugmansia bush by Riala under Pixabay license
Flowering datura by Bishnu Sarangi under Pixabay license