A genus of robust annual herbs which grow up to 1.5 m tall, and often have purplish stems. The leaves are alternate, but often opposite towards the top of the stem; they have petioles and are generally glabrous. The solitary flowers are held in the axils, with the flower stems elongating at the fruiting stage. The calyx is angular and sharply toothed. The 5 petals are fused into a funnel and are white or purple. The 5 stamens are enclosed. The ovary has 4 locules and forms a 4-valved, spiny capsule. Several species are used medicinally, some are cultivated as ornamentals, and others are poisonous weeds. D. stramonium, the common thorn-apple, has been spread from America to many parts of the world, including Britain and Australia. There are 8 species, found in tropical and temperate regions of America, and many have now become widespread.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.