Brugmansia – Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia, commonly called Angel’s Trumpet and sometimes referred to as the “tree datura”, is found only in Central and South America. They are characterized by their large pendulous, trumpet-like flowers that hang upside down. They radiate an exotic and majestic beauty. As a close kin of Datura, they are oftentimes confused with one another. They were at one time even classed as Datura. They are now classified on their own as Brugmansia.
So what’s the difference between a Brugmansia and Datura? The difference is that Brugmansia grows like a tree. Its flowers hang upside down whereas Datura’s flowers bloom upward and out as a shrub. The seedpods of Brugmansia are smooth without the prickly thorns that characterize almost all the Datura seedpods.
There is a broad variety of Angel’s Trumpet that I am currently aware of. There could be some less known varieties out there that I haven’t seen yet. To my knowledge, there is Brugmansia arborea, Brugmansia aurea, Brugmansia insignis, Brugmansia sanguinea, Brugmansia suaveolons, Brugmansia versicolor, and Brugmansia vulcanicola. Then come some of the hybrids like Brugmansia x candida, Brugmansia x flava, and so many more. Let me just say there are hundreds more! This is because Brugmansia growers worldwide are making somewhat of a sport out of it.
In South America, shamans have utilized Brugmansia for thousands of years in their practice and rituals. Used for things like prophecy, contact with the Gods or the dead. And like its European counterpart, for astral-flight. The plant is highly concentrated with the tropane alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. Being around the equator, this plants can get extremely concentrated and potent with alkaloids. There are reports that just sleeping under the tree or smelling the flower up close can have effects on you. Although it seems a little far-fetched to me, who knows the power of some of those growing in a hot, humid jungle setting. They could be dripping with alkaloids, but that is beyond my scope.
In the Southern United States, there have been waves of hospitalizations from the irresponsible use of Angel’s Trumpet. People hear that the plant is a hallucinogen and think of it along the lines of a potential enlightening psychedelic experience. But come to find out, the plant is not psychedelic. it is a deliriant. It causes madness and loss of control. With hallucinations that are not colorful but threatening and extremely vivid. Which makes these plants unpredictable. Not to mention the alkaloid content can vary, as with all tropane containing plants. The majority of reports I’ve read people are extremely careless. They basically guess at dosage without having any reference dosage to guess at. So its no wonder why people have horrible reactions. Also compounding the fact that the tropanes are not a recreational kind of drug by any stretch of the imagination. The type of trip is not compatible with the reality we are trying to function in. The framework just doesn’t fit.
Quite recently, there was a Vice documentary about scopolamine called the Devil’s Breath. In it they went to investigate the criminal use of scopolamine. It was extracted from the “borrachero tree”. In which case they were talking about Brugmansia arborea. There is a high number of cases in Latin America from using scopolamine as a chemical weapon. They use it to drug people into a stupor and child-like state. Afterwards robbing or even raping them. Their claim that it removes your free-will is questionable, but not outside the realm of possibility. These are powerful substances capable of extraordinary effects on the mind and body.
I love growing Angel’s Trumpet. They are exotic and unique, much like Datura but on a larger scale. Her majestic flowers give her an aura of mystery and power. Being around her when blooming is quite an experience. Not only is her beauty profound, but the fragrance she releases from them fills the air with such a heavenly scent. I had my Brugmansia versicolor, Kadyn, in my room the first time she bloomed and it was magnificent. It made my room smell so amazing! She is truly a display of intensity and power!