Plant profile: Angel Trumpet

It’s no mystery to me why artist Georgia O’Keeffe found Datura to be such a fascinating subject for paintings. Just look at it.

Candlesticks

Its forms are stark and sweeping; its colors are strikingly unambiguous (white flowers; green foliage, with an occasional touch of salmon or violet along the bloom borders).

Just opened

Furthermore, the angel trumpet’s nocturnal blooming habit lends it an air of mystery, bolstered perhaps by its dangerous reputation as a psychoactive (not to mention a deadly poison — folks, DON’T try this at home!)

Tonight’s entertainment

In the backyard garden, angel trumpets are a special source of delight if one devotes the attention to keep watch over them as nighttime draws nigh. When they open, they tend to POP open with vigor and surprising rapidity — as if they were spring loaded.

Sequence

And as soon as they POP, the bees (and, frequently, the sphinx moths) are there to feast upon their sweet-scented nectar and caper merrily about in their abundant pollen.

Early adopter

By the dawn, many of the blooms will have fallen prey to all manner of predation, with gaping holes and well-chewed divots decorating their once-pristine folds of white. Before midday what’s left will have wilted over and lost its elasticity altogether.

Pollen hound

But never fear — a new crop of trumpets will likely be in store for the next night, and the night after that.

Night bloomer

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