Brugmansia (brug-Man'-zee-uh)

Common name:   Angel's Trumpet
 

Herrenhäuser Gärtens Supports the American Brugmansia & Datura Society ABADS

Brugmansia is named after
Sebald Justin Brugmans
1763-1819

 

Since the 1700s, individuals from several different countries have worked scientifically with Brugmansia, especially Americans. The beautiful and historic Herrenhäuser Gärtens, in Hannover Germany, became  the nucleus for Brugmansia because of close contact to Tommy E. Lockwood and Prof. Richard E. Schultes (both from Harvard University, USA), Dr. Adolfo Holguin (Ecuador) and Prof. Alvaro Fernandez-Perez (Colombia, University of Popayan).

Even though Brugmansia has been in the USA for many many  years, it has always been portrayed as a 'Plant of Evil' and something undesirable to have growing in your yard. Not until 1997 did Brugmansia begin to gain the "serious" attention of many American plant collectors and home gardeners. 
 
Brugmansia has a wide range of leaf forms and individual growth habits. The Brugmansia flower has an even wider range of sizes, forms, shapes, and colors that can change drastically in appearance from one growing environment to the next.  The different Brugmansia flower scents drifting in the air on warm summer evenings can only be described as exotic and intoxicating!  The Brugmansia flower anatomy is much like the Lily making it extremely easy to hybridize these plants. At times it can be difficult to point out differences between these hybrids with the naked eye, but still all are as different as snowflakes.  The charm and the beauty of this genus is unlike any native or imported plant we are familiar with! 
 
 
There are 7 species of Brugmansia which are divided into two groups. These two groups normally do not cross with each other:

B. aurea Group

aurea
insignis
suaveolens
versicolor
x candida (aurea x versicolor)


B. arborea Group

arborea
sanguinea
vulcanicola
x flava - (arborea x sanguinea)

Note: Hybrids from the crosses (in any order) aurea x suaveolens x versicolor, and hybrids from extensive inter-breeding and back crosses and whose lineage is uncertain are called hybrids

   The genus Brugmansia belongs to the nightshade, Solanaceae family which includes tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco, many kinds of peppers, eggplant, and also includes Datura, petunia, nicotiana, solanum, physalis (Chinese lantern) and other ornamentals.

 
Click on map for larger view
Map of Colombia

Brugmansia is native to South America, particularly the Andes, 
where they grow on sloping terrain under damp conditions.


Brugmansia love humid, warm days, and cool nights.
80-85 for daytime highs and no less than 40 degree nights would 
be the perfect environment for Brugmansia. Unfortunately 
this perfect environment is not likely in much of the U.S..
Fortunately MOST Brugmansia do survive higher temps (100+),
and ALL survive lower temps.
Fortunately ALL Brugmansia is easily wintered inside.


Brugmansia is a long lived perennial in zone 9 and warmer and can grow to become a small tree to 35' tall, 6'-15' tall when grown in containers.
Brugmansia will survive zone 8 winters "if the roots do not freeze" and they’ve even survived zone 7 winters. Repeated ground freezes, year after year, will eventually weaken and kill the plant.
Worldwide Plant Hardiness Zones


Brugmansia is toxic when ingested, the same as many of our other favorites:

Eggplant, Four O'clock, Hydrangea, Lily of the Valley, Morning Glory, Potato, Tobacco, Tomato, Oleander, Azalea, Rhododendron, Alocasia, Caladium, Dieffenbachia, Castor bean, Easter Lily, Chrysanthemum, Iris, Sweet Pea and plenty more!
The list of our toxic favorites is very long.

1- Purdue University
2- aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu
3- Compiled by Jayne Cuny

 

Am I going to drop dead if I touch Brugmansia?

We are not aware of deaths caused by handling Brugmansia. There would be no Brugmansia collectors if these plants were so deadly to touch!
Brugmansia growers sometimes experience eye dilation when the juice from the plant gets in their eyes, unlike Onions that burn your eyes and make you cry!

You will be in danger if you ingest the foul tasting Brugmansia leaves, or the flowers and seeds.
Many of our common houseplants and many of our common outside garden favorites are toxic to some degree, not just Brugmansia!

Teach your kids to not eat plants!



Rosie sharpens her claws!


Is it safe to grow Brugmansia around my Pets?

Probably the most serious problem your cat will experience when it gets near Brugmansia, is the scolding it receives from you, because
 it uses your brug container as a litter box! 

Normally animals show no interest in these plants. Since 1997 we are aware of 4 cases of someone's pet eating Brugmansia .

1- Kitty nibbled. No side effects.
2- Kitty nibbled, threw up a few times and wasn't it's normal active self for three days, but it did not have convulsions or go belly up.
3- Dog chewed a leaf. No side effects.
4- Elliott (a Goffin's Cockatoo) peeled and ate 20 Brugmansia seeds. Elliott never even got heartburn! 

A vet trip wasn't required in any of these cases.

Since 1999  we've received reports from persons in Florida and in California who have witnessed squirrels eating the young new growth tips and the seed pods of Brugmansia ... and they return for more. A Florida collector lost all of his treasured and nearly mature B. 'Species' seed pods to these critters. 
Tennessee rabbits have been witnessed eating Brugmansia leaves and stems! No one has reported a squirrel or rabbit who was sick or died as the result of eating Brugmansia.

This information does not mean you shouldn't be concerned about your pets. Just watch their behavior around your plants. Chances are extremely high that your pet will turn it's nose up and ignore  Brugmansia. 


Insects love to eat Brugmansia!


Brugmansia Flowers

Brugmansia flowers are nodding to pendant, 4" to 24" long depending on the species. 

arborea
B.
arborea has the smallest flowers
(nodding)

B. versicolor has the largest flowers
(pendant)

Flower fragrance intensity can range anywhere from none ( B. sanguinea) to overpowering. The intoxicating fragrances are described as musk, lemon, mint, lily, hyacinth, citrus, traces of  jasmine and gardenia, various deodorant scents including Lady Speed Stick "Light Musk", and Lemon Pledge furniture polish. These fragrances are most noticeable on warm summer evenings.

 
Brugmansia produces many shades of white, yellow, gold, orange, peach and pink flowers. Before an individual flower's life cycle is ended it is possible for it to go thru many color changes.  Sun, shade, pH levels, nutrition, stress, high and low temperatures, humidity ... all can affect Brugmansia flower colors and some flower forms. The flower you see in your particular growing environment may not be the same color or form in someone else's environment. Some cultivars flower all growing season, some flower only in flushes every 6-8 weeks, some only flower in cool weather. Some produce few flowers and some produce many flowers.
Brugmansia sanguinea is the only species that has true red flowers.
Update! New 2003 release! Check out the red x candida hybrid B. 'Super Spot' created by Anne Kirchner-Abel , Germany! 
The only known "possible shade of purple" Brugmansia is the Preissel hybrid B. x flava Lilac. There is not a true purple Brugmansia. The Purple Brugmansia seeds you see offered on many sites, and the purple flowered plants you see everywhere, are always
Datura which is a separate genus of the same Solanaceae family.


This is called the "sleep position"


Brugmansia flower forms are mostly singles in a variety of funnel and trumpet shapes but there are also many doubles, triples, and quadruples and a few shredded forms. Some flowers are giant bells that hang pendant, others stick out to the side, called nodding. Some begin as nodding but the size/weight of the flower eventually causes them to hang more pendant.

Brugmansia fruit shapes (seed pod shapes) resemble okra, chili pepper, green bean and egg. These seed pods never have spines or bumps and they do not open on their own like most Datura seed pods do. 

Brugmansia seedlings are not true to parent plants with the exception of true species crosses such as arborea.

In most cases, Brugmansia is easily propagated from cuttings.

 

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Disclaimer: While the information at this Web site is believed to be true and accurate, the American Brugmansia & Datura Society Inc. (ABADS) and the authors cannot accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have been made. ABADS makes no warranty, expressed or implied with respect to the material contained herein. Copyright of all original Images submitted for public display will be retained by the contributor. The contributor does, however, agree to grant ABADS a non-exclusive license to modify, reproduce, and distribute all images in the manner that it sees fit. You must request written permission from ABADS Board of Directors in order to copy and publish any part of this website.


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