Weblog of Leland Rucker
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Return of the Datura

This datura flower lasted only one night.

The datura have returned to the yard this year, more a scouting party than a full brigade. They are volunteers, and they show up in only in a small area along a stone path just at the edge of the canopy of our spruce tree, so they exist in a place where they are shaded except in the afternoons. The plant has a way of wilting when the sun is intense and then rebounding after dark.

Datura bring forth mysteriously beautiful, often short-lasting flowers that bloom at night. Besides their natural magnificence, datura, when ingested, are both hallucinogenic and toxic, with a long cultural history. I have not ingested one of the enticing flowers, and after reading several accounts of people who did, I won’t be finding out for myself. But it makes the plant even more mysterious to me.

Last summer no volunteers showed for duty, after a banner year in 2008, when we had many blooms on several plants.

But this flower lasted only one night. The afternoon sun “melted” it, and it didn’t come back.

Click here to see a shot of our 2008 bumper crop.


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