A member of the nightshade family, Jimsonweed is a toxic and foul-smelling summer annual that grows up to 5 feet tall. They are characterized by spiny egg-shaped seeds and trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet flowers.
Seedlings have sturdy, deep-violet stems. Leaves are spade-shaped, up to 2 inches long and 1/4 inches wide. Young leaves may appear puckered and are characterized by a depressed midvein. When crushed, leaves give off a foul odor. Jimsonweed is sometimes confused with common cocklebur, which is hairier and lacks the distinctive smell.
Leaves alternate on the stem and are football to egg-shaped. The surface of the leaf is mostly hairless, and the edges are wavy-toothed or wavy-lobed. Veins create sharp indents along the top of the leaf and distinct ridges on the underside. Flowers are trumpet-shaped and pale white to pinkish. Flowers are fully or partially closed until late evening and remain open until shortly after dawn the next day. They emit a pleasantly tropical fragrance while open, attracting primarily the night-flying hawk moth.
Flowers are trumpet-shaped and pale white to pinkish. Flowers are fully or partially closed until late evening and remain open until shortly after dawn the next day. They emit a pleasantly tropical fragrance while open, attracting primarily the night-flying hawk moth.
Jimsonweed competes heavily with local plants for light and nutrients, especially when emerging at the same time. The roots also release alkaloids that are toxic to other plants. They prefer rich soil, full sun, and warm temperatures and are often found among corn and soybeans. Consumption of jimsonweed is highly toxic to animals and humans, often leading to haliucinations and/or death.
Jimsonweed is best controlled through preventative measures such as buying clean seed and being sure to clean equipment after use. Tillage between growing seasons combined with crop rotation alters environmental conditions enough to eliminate jimsonweed issues.
Controlling jimsonweed in corn is effectively achieved through preemergence treatments. In soybeans, postemergence treatments are highly effective in controlling jimsonweed. Please contact your local weed specialist to learn what is most effective in your area and how to use it best. Always read and follow all label instructions.