Saturday, July 09, 2011


This doesn't grow around here but it's all over Southern California where I used to live. It's Stramonium Datura, known as Jimson Weed. The reason I bring it up is there is a Datura species that grows up here commonly called the Japanese Lantern.

Years ago the Japanese Lantern made local news. If I recall correctly someone ate some seeds and had to be hospitalized. The press made an issue out of the plants and mentioned they could be used as a hallucinogen. They even showed one that was growing in the front yard of a customer's house on A Street, down on the west side. The morning after the news cast that plant was all cut up- some ne'er- do- wells recognizing it from the news and wanting to try it out themselves.

I don't know if the ones grown up here are the same as Jimson Weed, but Jimson Weed is indeed a drug. We found out about it as teenagers after Carlos Castanendas' Teachings of Don Juan series was published. One of the local guys ended up mixing some up and spreading it around amongst us Irvine kids. I wouldn't recommend playing with it.
This was brought to mind by this Sacramento Bee article that I stole the picture from. They also brought back another memory about datura plants: The seeds. I guess those were those hard thorny seeds we used to hate as kids. The article is right. They could puncture tires and, as kids who often ran around barefoot in the summertime, we'd be hating it if we stepped into a patch of them. There wouldn't be just one or two. There'd be a whole bunch. They sucked.

Anyway, just some old memories.

Oh, and another supposed hallucinogenic: Morning glory seeds, which do grow up here. I've never tried them. Takes hundreds of them to do the trick from what I've heard, though.


At 9:46 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

I've never tried it, I don't intend to. There is an old saying "you only do datura once". They leave you to wonder about that.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

By the way, it does grow around here.

At 4:01 AM, Anonymous skippy said...

...and even horses avoid it.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I've never noticed any around here. At least down here on the coast.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's less a hallucinogen and more a dileriant (sp?). WAY more. You will not know you are hallucinating. You will not know when it begins or ends. It's one thing to say that, it's another to see very experienced psychonauts mentally prepare themselves and still lose it. I know a few people who've eaten just a little bit of datura...a few bites of a flower, a small amount of seends, and they all say they will never do it again under any circumstances.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

high on jimson weed video link

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous grackle said...

I've read (don't recall source) that native peoples in central and southern CA took datura for visions but since the alkaloids vary in amount significantly from plant to plant they sometimes died by overdosing. There are number of almost tree sized daturas (6+ ft. high) with blossoms that can be a deep yellow. Very attractive.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

You're probably referring to what's commonly known around here as "Japanese Lantern", or whatever they're called. That's the plant that got all cut up in my customer's front yard after the TV news did a story on it.

Attractive? I suppose some think so. I'm not very fond of them and, yes, the wife planted a few in our back yard.


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