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Desert Thornapple
Datura discolor

About Desert Thornapple (Datura discolor) Datura discolor, also called the desert thorn-apple, is an herbaceous annual plant native to the Sonoran Desert of western North America, where it grows in sandy soils and washes. All parts of the plant contain a mix of alkaloids that are potentially lethal when enough is ingested. Deaths from careless recreational use of Daturas and related plants are frequently reported. The species was first described in 1833. The term discolor, meaning "various colors," refers to its upward-growing trumpet-shaped flowers, which are white in the bell, and pale to dark violet from the narrow part of the bell to the base. The plant itself is an upright or low-lying shrub that can grow to 4 1/2 feet tall. Its foliage is light green, and its stalks have conspicuous purple stripes. The ovate-shaped leaves can be whole or toothed..
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual Herb

Max. Height
1.6 - 4.5 ft (0.49 - 1.4 m)

Flower Color
White, Purple

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Sandy, gravelly soils, washes


Elevation ?
-191' - 2937'

Annual Precip. ?
2.5" - 10.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.40" - 1.33"

Coldest Month ?
47.5° F - 64.2° F

Hottest Month ?
77.7° F - 89.3° F

Humidity ?
3.89 vpd - 40.91 vpd


Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
Desert Thorn-apple, Small Datura

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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