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Angel's Trumpet

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Angel’s and Devil’s Trumpets, while closely related, are just as different as their names suggest. An Extension professional discusses these differences, as well as one important similarity.

Angel’s Trumpets

Angel’s trumpets, scientifically known as Brugmansia, is a genus of seven different species of flowering plants in the Solanaceae family. Other members of the Solanaceae family include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and tobacco.

Kerry Smith, the Alabama Extension home grounds team coordinator, said that angel’s trumpets have several distinct characteristics.

“Brugmansia flowers hang downward, giving them their trumpet shape. Their flowers are usually yellow or pink in color,” Smith said. “Late summer into early fall is when you find the heaviest flowering of these plants.”

Angel’s trumpets are native to the tropical areas of South America. In these tropical type climates, they flower year-round. The flowers are especially fragrant in the evening.

Devil's Trumpet

Devil’s Trumpets

Devil’s Trumpets are part of the genus Datura. There are between nine and 12 known species in the Datura genus. While they are commonly confused with Brugmansias, there are several characteristics that make them quite different.

“Daturas are smaller, shrubby plants, and their flowers point upward.” Smith said. “These flowers are either white or purple.”

While Brugmansia species are native to tropical areas, Datura species are native to North America and northern Africa. A few common names in the Datura group are Jimsonweed, Thornapple, Moonflower and Sacred Datura.

Both Plant Species Are Toxic

These plants have many differences, but there is one important similarity;  both are toxic and can be deadly if ingested.

“While toxicity levels from each species are debatable, all parts from both plants are considered toxic,” Smith said. “These toxins are at their highest concentration in the seeds.”

Smith said when it comes to living around these plants, the main point is for people to thoughtfully consider the placement of the plants.

“Avoid planting in or near a food garden to prevent confusion,” she said. “If concerned about children playing nearby, plant them toward the back of a flower bed.”

Smith said using common sense is a good rule with any endeavor, gardening and otherwise.

“Don’t eat a plant if you don’t recognize it or know it well,” Smith said. “Daffodils and azaleas are common to most southern landscapes and are also highly poisonous. We never think of them being harmful because we would never think of eating these.”

More Information

Alabama Extension has many resources dealing with lawn and garden topics. To find these resources, visit the Lawn and Garden page of the website or contact your county Extension home grounds, gardens and home pests agent.

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