Solanaceae: a well-branched, shrubby annual or short-lived perennial plant that grows to 1m high. Persistent glandular hairs cover the stems and leaves, making it clammy to the touch. The stalked, dull green, broadly egg-shaped leaves are alternately arranged along the stem. The trumpet-like flowers are borne singly where the leaf joins the stem. They are 12-19cm long, with the green base of the flower extending for about half the total length. The upper part of the flower is white, usually with five fine points extending beyond the rest of the flower. At maturity, the prickly fruits are almost globular, 3.5 to 5 cm long and covered by very many short spines. The fruits hang downwards on the plant, and open into 2-4 segments, shedding many seeds. The brown seeds are the most toxic part of the plant. Native from the southern United States through Mexico and Central America, to northern parts of South America.
All parts of the plant are anodyne, antispasmodic, hypnotic and narcotic. It has been used in the past as a pain killer and in the treatment of insanity, fevers with catarrh, diarrhoea and skin diseases. The plant contains several alkaloids, the most active of which is scopolamine. Any use of this plant should be with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner since the toxic dose is very close to the medicinal dose.
Seeds have already been soaked in a GA3 solution to aid germination. Germinates in 3 - 8 weeks at 20°C. Full sun, well-drained soil. Not frost hardy. Night-scented plants are particularly good for moths.