posted on March 30, 2010 20:26
Angel’s Trumpets versus Devil’s Trumpets
by John Curran
As the devil was once an angel, so too the common name Angel’s Trumpets was shared by Brugmansia and Datura in the past; now Datura are the “evil” Angel’s Trumpets, that is, Devil’s Trumpets. Each contains the same poisons, and both may have descended from Datura arborea.
Originally both genera were classified as a single genus, Datura. Since 1973, as the direct result of research by T.E.Lockwood, the shrubby varieties have been listed as a separate genus, Brugmansia.
Brugmansia are woody perennials, growing to form shrubs or small trees. Datura are herbaceous annuals or short-lived perennials, not forming woody growth.
It is easy to envision the hanging flowers of Brugmansia as Angel’s Trumpets, blasting from the heavens towards the Devil down below. Likewise, Datura’s trumpet-shaped flowers call upwards to the heavens.
Datura prefer to be watered only when the roots are dry; Brugmansia require more water. One should avoid watering Datura from overhead, as this will spoil the upwards-facing flowers. Brugmansia enjoy overhead watering, and this also provides an atmosphere less hospitable to red-spider-mites, which thrive on hot and dry conditions.
The wait for first flowers is much shorter with Datura, which can flower quickly from seed. Brugmansia require more time to mature, often blooming only when the plant reaches 2 or 3 feet tall.
Perhaps the gap between the Angel’s and Devil’s will one day be bridged, but so far there have been very few successful bigeneric hybrids; these were the results of rather advance techniques including embryo rescue. But the day will dawn when the Angel’s blow heavenly purple trumpets, as the Devil’s blast trumpets of red!