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Al Key - DRC

Once in a blooming moon

Profile image for By Al Key / Staff Photographer
By Al Key / Staff Photographer
Two Sacred Datura flowers, the upper growing closer to a trumpet shape, with the lower still unfurling toward its final design.Al Key - DRC
Two Sacred Datura flowers, the upper growing closer to a trumpet shape, with the lower still unfurling toward its final design.
Al Key - DRC

A perennial, the Datura wrightii — also called a sacred thorn-apple, Indian whiskey, Sacred Datura and even a Devil’s trumpet or Angel’s trumpet because it was used by Native American tribes in their ceremonies and rituals — unfurls from a bud to full bloom in a single day. 

Some refer to the species of Angel’s trumpet as a western Jimsonweed, though research indicates the leaves are shaped differently. A search of angel’s trumpet nets the reference of Brugmansia — a genus of seven species closely related to the genus Datura. 

The flowers of the Datura wrightii bloom for one day only, emerging at sunset and dying at sunrise. Most plants produce four to five days of flowers each month, from around April to October, and usually just after the passage of a full moon. Large stands of the plants in optimal locations can bloom almost continually throughout the summer. 

The flower changes from a tightly wrapped cylinder about an inch wide to about 8 to 9 inches in lengths with a wide bright white trumpet-shaped flower. It unfurls itself in 20 to 30 minutes. A person can literally see the plant shake as it opens, its lemony sweet fragrance attracting bees and other interesting creatures such as hummingbird moths.

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