Devil’s Apple: Classification, Origin, Distribution, Description Phytochemical compounds and Uses

Devil’s Apple: Classification, Origin, Distribution, Description Phytochemical compounds and Uses


Datura stramonium is an annual plant.Devil’s trumpet, Jamestown, or Jimson weed are all names for the plant Datura stramonium (Lee, 2007). Its Solanaceae family, which includes deadly nightshade (Atropabelladenna), is abundant in alkaloids. One of the most prevalent poisonous plants in the northern hemisphere is a weed called C.maculatum which belongs to the Apiaceae family. Due to the little gap between its therapeutic and hazardous dosages, it was once utilized as a medication, but its medicinal usefulness is now relatively limited (Vetter, 2004).

Datura Plant

It is an annual plant. The stem is herbaceous, branching, glabrous, and mildly hairy, while the leaves are stalked, 4-6 in long, ovate, and pale green. Fruits are as large as walnuts and covered in thorns. The plant is toxic on its whole. The entire plant is used in West Africa as an anti-inflammatory, as well as a remedy for skin infections and tooth problems. The crushed, dried leaves are used as a therapeutic ointment or to sprinkle on cuts.


Kingdom – Plantae

Class – Magnoliopsida

Order – Solanales

Family – Solanaceae

Genus – Datura

Species – stramonium

Common names: Green thorn apple, Jimson weed, Jamestown weed, Devil’s apple, Datura, Thorn apple, Devil’s trumpet,

Origin and Distribution

Native to the Americas, Datura stramonium has been transported into numerous tropical, subtropical, and even temperate climates. It has become a weed in several African nations, but its prevalence of it is probably significantly underreported.


1. An annual or short-lived perennial, erect herb, 2 m tall, frequently with several branches, stems sparsely hairy to glabrous.

2. The blade of the leaves is ovate to rhombic-ovate or elliptical, 3-20 cm 1-15 cm, with an acute to acuminate or obtuse tip. The margins are sharply toothed with irregular teeth or almost entire, and they are pinnately veined.

3. The leaves are alternate, simple, and minutely hairy, stipules are absent, and the petiole can be up to 9.5 cm long.

4. Flowers axillary, solitary, rarely paired, bisexual, regular, five-merous, pedicel 5-1.5 mm long, calyx tubular, 2.5-5 cm long, lobes unequal, 0.5-1 cm long; corolla trumpet-shaped to tubular, 6-10 cm long; stamens placed above the middle of the corolla tube, included; filaments short and thick.

5. Anthers yellow, ovary superior, 2(–4)-celled, style slender, 3.5–7 cm long, stigma large, 2-lobed.

6. Fruit is an upright, almost globose to an ovoid capsule that is up to 5 cm by 4.5 cm, yellowish to brown, and has up to 16 mm long, slender, stiff spines.

7. Dark brown to black, almost D-shaped, flattened seeds, measuring 3.5–4.5 mm by 2.5–3.5 mm by 1 mm.

8. Epigeal germination, thin, leafy cotyledons.

Planting and Propagation

In most cases, the seed of Datura stramonium is sown either directly in the field or a nursery bed. Seed germination is improved by overnight soaking. 7-8 kg of seed is required for every hectare. After roughly two weeks, the seed begins to germinate, and after a month, germination is complete. The seedlings are transplanted when they are 8–12 cm tall if the seed is sown in a nursery. In India, however, a separation of 3 m is typical. The normal spacing is between 70 and 100 cm.

Phytochemical compounds

Numerous alkaloids, such as atropine, -ditigloyloxytropane, 7-hydroxyhyoscyamine, hyoscamine, and scopolamine, as well as tigloidin, aposcopolamine, apoatropine, hyoscyamine N-oxide, and scopolamine-N-oxide , are present in D. stramonium.

All Datura plants have been reported to contain tropane alkaloids, primarily in their seeds and flowers, including scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine.

Tropane alkaloids, primarily atropine and scopolamine, are abundant in Datura stramonium and A. belladonna (Friedman and Levin, 1989; Philipov and Berkov, 2002).


1. The leaves are smoked in pipes or cigarettes, either by themselves, with other tobaccos, or in combination with cubebs, sage, belladonna, and other substances.

2. To increase combustion, the coarsely powdered leaves are combined into cones with some aromatics and equal proportions of potassium nitrate. The cones are then burned in a saucer, with the smoke being absorbed into the lungs.

3. A significant amount of alleviation is provided, with the impact occurring faster when the powdered leaves are burned and the smoke is breathed than when the patient smokes cigars or cigarettes.

4. Like other medicines, when used frequently, alleviation is less noticeable and the treatment is only palliative—the attack’s underlying cause is unaffected. Accidents have occasionally also occurred as a result of this kind of careless use of the plant.

5. In epilepsy, stramonium was administered as a sedative. To treat asthma, the seeds can be smoked with tobacco.

6. In Egypt, dried leaves and petals have been used like tobacco to treat rheumatic pain, influenza, and difficulty breathing. Leaf poultices have also been used (with some oil).

Pharmacological Properties

Cancer Prevention

When Datura spp. leaves and stems were used in an MTT assay to combat breast cancer cells (specifically the MCF-7 cell line), and the results showed that leaf extract was more effective against both the MCF-7 and Vero cell lines than stem extract.

Datura stramonium leaf aqueous extract (1 mg/mL) had a cancer-inhibiting impact on the head, neck (FaDu), breast (MDA-MB231), and lung (A549) cancer cell lines in an in vitro setting for 24 and 48 hours. Accordingly, it was hypothesized that plant parts would be hazardous to live cells due to rising GSSG levels, increased oxidative stress, and altered enzyme levels expressing redox sensitivity.

Anti-Insect Effect

In comparison to methanol and n-hexane, datura stramonium seed extract exhibits stronger insecticidal activity. Insecticidal qualities of plants against Callosobruchus maculates showed that Senna siamea, Andrographis paniculata, Vernonia amygdalina, and Datura stramonium were the most efficient at reducing C. maculatus egg laying capacity.

Antimicrobial Effect

Reviewed numerous Bulgarian medicinal herbs, including Datura stramonium, and discussed their antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Aerial part (primarily stem and bark) of Datura stramonium’s aqueous and ethanolic extracts were tested against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Shigella, and Neisseria gonorrhoea; however, Neisseria did not respond to the aqueous extract, and only Staphylococcus aureus did. Different Datura leaf sections’ methanolic extracts exhibit better antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli ATCC25922 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC25923 by even a small amount.

Antioxidant Effect

The Datura stramonium methanolic seed extract was tested for anticancer activity using the DPPH radical scavenging, ABTS+ radical cation, Nitric oxide radical, and Ferric reducing power assays, and the results were 35.26, 10.50, and 49.36 respectively. For the maximum free radical scavenging effect in an in vitro study, DS demonstrated the inhibitory concentration value of 6.7±0.1 µg/ml

Effect of Nematodes

Datura stramonium is a toxic plant in its entirety, and as a result, an aqueous leaf extract of the plant demonstrated potent nematicidal properties.

Effect on Fungi

Datura stramonium and other medicinal plants have an antifungal effect combined. An effective antifungal effect can be obtained by fermenting or boiling a combination of Azadirachta indica (Neem), Calotropis gigantean, Datura stramonium, and cow fertilizer with methanol and water decoction (70/30 vv) of Azadirachta indica (Neem), Calotropis gigantean, and Datura stramonium alongside the fungus Fusarium mangiferae.

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