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Dear PoPville – Name this Plant Please

by Prince Of Petworth July 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm 32 Comments

Dear PoPville,

I spotted this plant a few nights ago along Florida Ave. while walking my dog. It immediately took me back to my childhood in the South with its wonderful lemony fragrance. Sadly, I never learned its name. From what I recall, it typically blooms at night, but it was also blooming this morning when I snapped this photo. Does anyone know what it is?? Thanks!”

  • Bloomingdale

    Angel Trumpet

    • mer

      nope – see below

  • k

    It’s Jimson Weed.

    • mer

      not even close

      • anon

        In fact, Jimson Weed and Moonflower very similar. They’re both in the Datura family. The only major difference between Jimson Weed and Moonflower is in the leaf shape. So, you don’t have to be a snot about it.

        • k

          I suppose if I were as emotionally invested in this as mer seems to be I should be crushed. At least I know well enough that the plant is highly toxic and shouldn’t be cultivated whatever particular species of the datura family it is. I may have proved I’m no botanist, but I certainly had more fun learning, roughly, what the plant is whilst stooping with the neighbor, drinking a bottle of wine, and googling on her phone. I think we did pretty well considering. So mer knows more about plants than I. Meh. I know not to be rude.

        • Anonymous

          is jimson weed one of hose plants that old hippies used to smoke?

  • anon

    Morning Glories

    • mer

      keep trying…

  • winner

    some type of datura (i’ve heard it called moonflower) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura

    • mer

      That’s it!

      • elcal

        Mer, you do realize that Jimson weed IS Datura? Not this specific species, but…

    • MtP

      That is not moonflower (ipomoea).

  • cahbf

    I call it moonflower. it blooms at night and makes some realy cool looking seed pods late summer.

    • Nick

      Yep, moonflower. I’ve been noticing it a lot lately. Does it have a bit of a climbing habit to it? I have a couple fences that where I might want to try it next year. How long does it bloom (time of year, not time of day)?

      • Emmaleigh504

        The moonflowers in my neighborhood bloom all summer long. I love them.

  • geeeeeeebs

    yes it is a bush moonflower

  • 20001dc

    Let’s call it “Steve”

    • Megan


  • Jaycee

    are moonflowers the same as four o’clocks? I planted four o’clocks and they bloomed at night and spread like crazy!

    • cassidy

      I love Four o’clocks! So colorful!

      • Eli

        I just googled them and figured out that’s what my neighbor has! He planted them on his side, but they’re poking through on my side as well–they’re a welcome row of color (though I hope they don’t damage the fence).

    • Albert

      they are NOT the same as four o’clocks

  • Eli

    I’m the OP. Thanks for the responses! I now remember people referring to it as a “moon plant.” Looks like that was pretty close! And who knew they were so toxic??

  • Jack S.

    Looks like Datura is a member of the Solanaceae, the nightshade family. Really interesting family botanically… It also includes Tomatos, Potatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, and Tobacco.

  • Danial Ash

    Eat one, if you trip its a morning glory, if not then its something else.

    • cottontails

      Don’t do this. First, eating one morning glory will not make you trip unless you weigh about 3 pounds. Second, Datura is very poisonous. It causes delirium (which is a very different experience than what happens when you ingest hallucinogens) and even death. The toxicity can vary WIDELY in a single plant, and also depends on its age. In this region they can go dormant through the winter and pop back up in the spring, so unless you planted from seed yourself in the past few months, I really wouldn’t suggest it. When I was growing up in south Florida every few years you’d get a wave of teenagers hospitalized from eating it to get high. LSD isn’t that expensive kids. If you want to get out of your head, you really ought be safe about it.

  • pop-up owner

    We’ve always known them as moon blossoms. Anyway, very easy to grow. Just take some seeds and plant them for next year where you want them. On a lark we took some seeds, planted in the alley and forgot about them. This year it grew and is huge.

  • break time


  • Anonymous


  • mer

    No it is not a moonflower nor an angel’s trumpet. It is a datura. You can tell by the leaves (which would be heart shaped for a moonflower and much more vine-like) and by the branching structure (which would be more vertical for a angel’s trumpet). They grow all over the neighborhood in tree boxes and untended gardens having blown in as a seed last year. Yes, you can collect the seeds in the fall and plant next year, but scratch them w/ sandpaper before planting.

  • Local PW

    It’s moonflower. Datura usually has a spikier leaf. Blooms at night. Our condo gardener in Kalorama used to replant it every year.


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