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The Solanaceae Family
Datura, Belladonna, Brugmansia and Brunfelsia
by Erowid

What's the difference between Datura, Belladonna, Brugmansia and Brunfelsia?

All of these are varieties of the Solanaceae family. Also included in the Solanaceae family are various potato, tomato, pepper, eggplant and tobacco species. Originally, there was only one genus Datura. Around 1970, because of the large number and variety of species in the genus, the genus was split into Datura and Brugmansia. In general, Daturas are smaller and low to the ground while Brugmansia are trees and large shrubs. So what was formerly Datura aurea, D. candida, D. sanguinea, and D. suaveolens are now Brugmansia aurea, B. candida, B. sanguinea, and B. suaveolens.

Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), which is native to Europe, contains the psychoactive alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine.

The Daturas are a closely related cousin to Atropa belladonna. Datura inoxia (sacred datura) is native to the American Southwest, and has a long history of shamanic use among the Zuni, Navajo, and several other tribes. Most recently, it has been made infamous by Carlos Castaneda who wrote about its use by his Yaqui teacher Don Juan. Datura stramonium (thornapple, jimsonweed) is a mostly eastern species and was probably introduced to the Americas from the West Indies.

Brugmansias, also known as tree daturas, are tropical varieties which also have a long history of shamanic use in South America. They are often included as admixture ingredients in traditional Ayahuasca and San Pedro brews.

Brunfelsias are another species native to South America and the West Indies. These Solanaceae family plants are often referred to as having a feminine presence. They have large voluptuous flowers, an intoxicating scent, large soft fuzzy leaves, and a strong feeling of energy about them.