Three Jimson weed plants have invaded my garden. I understand this plant is toxic and dangerous. How can I get rid of it safely?
Thank you for your question for Toronto Master Gardeners.
You are correct in being concerned about the safe removal of Jimsonweed (botanical name – Datura stramonium L.). The Datura plant genus has a variety of cultivars which have white, violet, purple, and yellow single and double very fragrant flowers with common names of horn of plenty, devil’s trumpet, angel’s trumpet, moonflowers and thornapple (MBG, 2020), a few names of which are used for other plants. It is found as a field weed in Ontario (OMAFRA, 2020) and grown as an annual ornamental below zone 9 and produces seeds in a thorny round pod. All Datura plant parts are very toxic to humans and animals and can be fatal. Teens have been known to ingest plants and seeds for their hallucinogenic properties leading to emergency medical treatment.
Hand-weeding of this shallow rooted plant is usually successful especially during early stages of plant growth. The fact that you have found 3 plants might suggest that future seedlings may appear as it the seeds can remain dormant in the soil for some years. Contact with plant parts on removal does not usually result in allergic reaction unless the person has sensitivities (Chandran, 2018), however the following precautions are recommended (Simes, 2019):
- Wear long sleeves and gloves to remove the plants
- Double bag before putting it in the garbage
- Do not burn as toxins may enter the air
- Do not compost to avoid spread of this weed