This is a robust, fast growing annual, typically found growing along the banks of arroyos, along sand bars, after rain. The gray-green leaves may have few to no teeth, and are velvety on the underside. The flowers are large, tubular flowers. The seed pods are thorny capsules containing numerous small dark brown, kidney shaped seeds.
The stem, seeds, leaves, and roots all contain significant percentages of tropane alkaloids, mainly hyoscyamine and scopolamine. At low doses Datura will have depressant and sedative effects, however in higher doses it can lead to powerful and often frightening hallucinations, excitation, dry mouth, euphoria, mydriasis, confusion, insomnia, respiratory arrest and even death.
In some areas of the world scopolamine is favored as a hallucinogen.Both Datura and Brugmansia were used by the Aztecs and modern Indians as an intoxicant and a hallucinogen for magico-religious purposes. Plant extracts were consumed in a variety of ways: smoked, drunk, fermented in beer, chewed, or absorbed through the skin.
In the Baja region of Mexico leaves are crushed and use to treat bruises and swelling, and used as a treatment for poisonous bites.
To treat insomnia Datura flowers can be placed next to ones pillow, or in the pillow case. Let it be known, all parts of Datura are potentially poisonous, carefully regulated doses produce hallucinations, overdoses can be fatal.