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048  Datura innoxia Miller

Solanaceae

Nome comune: stramonio metello; Noce metella

Datura inoxia (thorn-apple, downy thorn-apple, Indian-apple, moonflower, sacred datura, nacazcul, toloatzin, tolguache or toloache) is a species in the family Solanaceae. It is native to Central and South America, and introduced in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. The scientific name is often cited as D. innoxia. The plant was first described in 1768 by English botanist Philip Miller, who spelled it D. inoxia. The name Datura meteloides was for some time erroneously applied to some members of the species, but that name has now been abandoned.[1] 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.[1] When cultivated, the plant is usually grown from seed, but its perennial rhizomes can be kept from freezing and planted in the spring of the following year.[1] Datura inoxia, like other Datura species, contains the highly toxic alkaloids atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine. According to Hernández, the Aztecs called the plant toloatzin, and used it long before the Spanish conquest of Mexico for many therapeutic purposes, such as poultices for wounds where it acts as an anodyne. Although the Aztecs warned against madness and "various and vain imaginings", many native Americans have used the plant as an entheogen for hallucinations and rites of passage. The alkaloids of these plants are very similar to those of mandrake, deadly nightshade, and henbane, which are also highly poisonous plants used cautiously for effective pain relief in antiquity.[2] Datura intoxication typically produces a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy (delirium, as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.[3] There can easily be a 5:1 variation in toxins from plant to plant, and a given plant's toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and local weather conditions. These wide variations make Datura exceptionally hazardous to use as a drug. In traditional cultures, users needed to have a great deal of experience and detailed plant knowledge so that no harm resulted from using it.[1] Such knowledge is not available in modern cultures, so many unfortunate incidents result from ingesting Datura. In the 1990s and 2000s, the United States media contained stories of adolescents and young adults dying or becoming seriously ill from intentionally ingesting Datura.[4] It has also been planted throughout the world as an ornamental plant for its attractive large leaves, large white flowers, and distinctive thorny fruit. However, the plant is now considered an invasive species in several locations. For example, because of the similarity of its life cycle to that of cotton, it is a pest in cotton fields. It is also a potential seed contaminant. Datura inoxia is quite similar to Datura metel, to the point of being confused with it in early scientific literature. D. metel is a closely related Old World plant for which similar effects were described by Avicenna in eleventh century Persia. The closely related Datura stramonium differs in having smaller flowers and tooth-edged leaves, and Datura wrightii in having wider, 5-toothed (instead of 10-toothed) flowers.