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Branch with bud and deflexed fruit. Photo: T. Low T. Low

Line drawing by L. Haegi showing shape of corolla and limb of corolla (spread flat) to show lobes (l), acumens and interacuminal lobules.

By G. Dashorst, Fl. S. Aus. 3,  f. 562 partly (1986).

Synonymy

Datura leichhardtii F. Muell. ex Benth., Fl. Austral. 4: 468 (1868)

T: Gulf of Carpentaria, Landsborough s.n.; syn: MEL; Ashburton River, Walcott s.n.; syn: n.v.; Gilbert River, F. Mueller s.n.; syn: K, MEL; Comet River, L.Leichhardt s.n.; syn: MEL; Suttor River, D'Orsay s.n.; lecto: K, iso: K, MEL, fide L. Haegi, Austral. J. Bot. 24: 428 (1976); Rockingham Bay, P.O'Shanesy s.n.; syn: MEL; Armadillo, Barton s.n.; syn: MEL.

Opinions vary as to whether this is a native or introduced species but it is now generally thought that D. leichhardtii was an early introduction to Australia from the New World and that it is likely to be conspecific with D. pruinosa.  See D.E.Symon & L.Haegi (1991). Datura (Solanaceae) is aNew World genus. In: Hawkes JG, Lester RN, Nee M, Estrada N (eds) Solanaceae III: taxonomy, chemistry, evolution. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, pp 197–210.

Description

Stout annual herb, glabrous or sparsely pubescent with non-glandular hairs.

Mature leaves rhomboid to angularly ovate, the lamina up to 8 cm long, more or less regularly serrate to sinuate.

Calyx to 4 cm long, 5–lobed, the base persistent in fruit; lobes 7–10 mm long. Corolla 4–7 cm long, usually cream; limb appearing 10–lobed, alternate lobes shallow-triangular or ending in a slender point 5–7 mm long. Stamens not exserted; anthers 3–4 mm long. Style to 4.5 cm long; stigma level with or below anthers.

Capsule globose or nearly so, 2–3 cm long, deflexed, spiny; spines numerous, conical, sharp, of various lengths, the longest 4–9 mm; persistent base of calyx to 7 mm long. Seeds 4–5 mm long, light brown to grey-brown.

Distribution and ecology

Widespread in semi-arid areas in Qld, N.S.W., S.A., W.A., and N.T.

Frequently associated with water courses and flood plains. Generally considered endemic to Australia but evidence points to it originating in central America (Symon & Haegi 1991).

Notes

Sometimes poisonous to sheep.

Selected specimens

W.A.: Hamersley Range, J.V. Blockley 293 (PERTH). N.T.: Temple Bar Creek, J. Must 1400 (DNA). S.A.: Flinders Range, W.R. Barker 300 (AD). Qld: near Windorah, S.L. Everist 7441 (BRI). N.S.W.: Site B, near Willangee Stn, 1974, J. Pickard s.n. (NSW).

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Derivation of epithet

Named in honour of the collector or the type, the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt (1831-?1848).

Images and information on web

Information about this species in NSW can be accessed through the PlantNET site where there is also an image of a herbarium collection.

The Datura and Brugmansia Society has superb images of this species in all its life stages on its site: see www.abads.net/datura/leichhardtii/  There are also  further images on this site distinguishing between D. leichhardtii and D. inoxia.

Further information can be found on the Weeds in Australia site.

Further information about the toxic properties of this plant can be found with a search in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database

Plant status (if any)

General information about Datura species as declared plants in Western Australia can be found as a Departure of Agriculture & Food FarmNote 127

All species of Datura are declared in Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory while D. ferox, D. inoxia and D. stramonium are included in Victorian legislation.

Information on the occurrence and declaration of Datura inTasmania, as of Feb. 2008, can be found on the Department of Primary Industries and Water site at www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/webpages/ljem-6pv3ud?open

A fact sheet for this species can be downloaded from the SA eFlora site.