The late summer sight of this brugmansia in full bloom is striking and the trumpets are a pretty peachy pink in colour. Each bloom can measure 25cm long and up to 20cm across which is on the large side. I was reading a description which said strongly scented which I can’t say I have noticed so I rushed out to sniff. No scent in the morning, I am afraid. It appears they are night scented which is an indication that pollination is carried out by night flying insects, usually moths. The plant itself is a big rangy thing of no beauty – you have to work at keeping it more compact and bushy if you want a tidy plant. Otherwise it is just an overgrown solanum which wows when in flower.
This particular one was named for the late Auckland gardener and plantswoman, Noel Scotting and it came into the country about twenty years ago. Brugmansias are all South American and there seems to be quite a bit of shuffling of species, even though there are not many different species to shuffle. I lean towards the likelihood of this being B. suaveolens from south east Brazil. Or it may be a hybrid. All brugmansias are frost tender.
Brugmansias used to be called daturas, to which they are closely related. They are also very toxic. South American tribes have long used them in traditional medicine for purposes as varied as treating dermatitis, arthritis, prophecy, a ritual hallucinogen and, most scary of all, apparently to discipline naughty children by opening them up to the voices of their spirit ancestors. It sounds like scaring them witless to me. All parts of the plants are toxic and fortunately synthetic illegal drugs have replaced their occasional recreational use which was all too often fatal.
The double white brugmansia featured earlier in this series.
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.