On that basis the distribution is understood to be the forested Atlantic coastal strip of eastern Brazil from northern Rio Grande do Sul to southern Bahia.
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Catalog Number: US 1066379
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): G. Gardner
Locality: Serra des Organ., Brazil, South America
Habitat and Ecology
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Brugmansia suaveolens
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Brugmansia suaveolens
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- There are no herbarium collections of any species of this genus made from confirmed wild plants.
- No botanist specialising in this genus has ever reported seeing wild plants of any species.
- (Verbal) Reports by non-specialist botanists of the occurrence of ‘wild’ plants are either misidentifications (usually of Datura), or misinterpretation of remnants or localised escapes from cultivation, usually along creeks and occurring by vegetative propagation from stem fragments. In all such instances investigated in Ecuador and Colombia, the plants are of the anthropogenic hybrid Brugmansia x candida (Hay et al. 2012: 172-177). It is quite clear that such instances do not represent self-sustaining sexually reproducing populations.
- The complete lack of evidence of fruit dispersal or spontaneous seedlings, combined with the presence of large numbers of fruits containing viable seed, suggests their dispersers are extinct.
- Hence, all the species should best be regarded as extinct in the wild.
- They are all threatened with total extinction in their native South America because of the ongoing practice of eradicating them from gardens because of their poisonous nature, combined with the progressive loss of the traditional (indigenous) knowledge of their multiple uses (which is what appears to have been the reason for their long-term survival, perhaps over millennia).
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
The absence of wild plants was first recorded (albeit in relation to other Brugmansia species) by Ruiz & Pavón in the late 18th Century (Schultes & von Thene de Jamarillo-Arango 1998: 114). Later, in spite of decades of field work in NW South America, R.E. Schultes and his students Lockwood and Bristol, who specialised in this genus and other neotropical psychoactive plants, recorded finding no wild brugmansias at all (Bristol 1966, Lockwood 1973). Recent examination by Hay of numerous herbarium collections has turned up no specimens collected from the wild (Hay et al. 2012: 172).
While it is valued by those who know well how to use it both medicinally and as an entheogen, it is feared for its toxicity and superstitions about its ‘evil’ nature by those who do not, and it is anecdotally reported as being eradicated from gardens, sometimes at the behest of local authorities in response to the use of scopolamine for criminal purposes.
Loss of interest in cultivating this species, through loss of traditional healing skills, as well as active steps to eradicate it in places are the principal and current threats, as with other Brugmansia species.
Its ongoing survival appears dependent on maintenance or rehabilitation of cultural traditions in which it is used. Education about its cultural and practical value, as well as its precarious conservation status seem essential to counteract the negativity with which these plants are often seen. Legal protection may be desirable to counteract knee-jerk eradication of the plants by local authorities in response to criminal use.
Getting a representative range of non-hybrid clones into cultivation in tropical botanic gardens, and breeding them, would seem a practical step.
Brugmansia suaveolens, Brazil's white Angel Trumpet, is a South American species of flowering plants that grow as shrubs or small trees with large fragrant flowers.
Brugmansia suaveolens is a semi-woody shrub or small tree, growing up to 3–5 m (10–16 ft) tall, often with a many-branched trunk. The leaves are oval, to 25 cm (10 in) long by 15 cm (6 in) wide, and even larger when grown in the shade. The flowers are remarkably beautiful and sweetly fragrant, about 24–32 cm (9–13 in) long and shaped like trumpets. The corolla body is slightly recurved to 5 main points, but the very peaks in the true species are always curved outwards, never rolled back, and these peaks are short, only 1–2.5 cm (0.4–1.0 in) long. The flowers are usually white but may be yellow or pink and hang downward from fully pendulous up to nearly horizontal.
First discovered by Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland, Brugmansia suaveolens was first formally described and published by Carl Ludwig Willdenow in 1809 as Datura suaveolens. In 1823, Friedrich von Berchtold and Jan Presl transferred these to Brugmansia suaveolens. Local common names include Maikoa, Huanduc, Maikiua, Tompeta del jucio, Tsuaak, Toe, Wahashupa, Peji, Bikut, Ohuetagi, Ain-vai, Baikua, Canachiari, and Ishauna. There are thousands of cultivated Brugmansia hybrids, and the majority have at least some B. suaveolens heritage. Some of the more popular cultivars include 'Dr. Seuss', 'Frosty Pink' and 'Charles Grimaldi'.
Distribution and habitat
This Angel Trumpet was originally endemic to the coastal rainforests of south-east Brazil, where it grows below 1000 m (3500 ft) along river banks and forest edges with warm temperatures, high humidity, and heavy rainfall. As a result of human interaction with this species, it can now be found growing in residential areas throughout much of South America; and occasionally in Central America, Mexico, California and even in parts of Florida.
Fragrant in the evenings to attract pollinating moths, they hang half-closed during the day, but return to their peak again in the evenings. Brugmansia have two main stages to their life cycle. In the initial vegetative stage the young seedling grows straight up on usually a single stalk, until it reaches its first main fork at 80–150 cm (2.5 to 5 ft) high. It will not flower until after it has reached this fork, and then only on new growth above the fork. Cuttings taken from lower vegetative region must also grow to a similar height before flowering, but cuttings from the upper flowering region will often flower at a very low height.
One interesting example of plant/animal interaction involves the butterfly Placidula euryanassa, who uses Brugmansia suaveolens as one of its main larval foods. It has been shown that these can sequester the plant's tropane alkaloids and store them through the pupal stage on to the adult butterfly, where they are then used as a defense mechanism, making themselves less palatable to vertebrate predators.
Many South American cultures use Brugmansia suaveolens ritually. The Ingano and Siona in the Putumayo region both use it as an entheogen. It is also used by some Amazonian tribes as an admixture to increase the potency of Ayahuasca. The flowers and the seeds are traditionally used in Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil, mixed in water and ingested for its analgesic-like effect.
Flower extracts have shown pain-killing (antinociceptive) activity in mice. This antinociceptive activity may be related in part to benzodiazepine receptors.
B. suaveolens is included in the Tasmanian Fire Service's list of low flammability plants, indicating that it is suitable for growing within a building protection zone.
Brugmansia are grown as ornamentals outdoors year-round in non-freezing climates around the world. Like other large-leaved, fast-growing plants, they appreciate a little protection from the wind, as well as from the hottest afternoon sun. They like organically rich soil, frequent water, and heavy fertilizer when in full growth. Both woody and leafy tip cuttings are used to propagate Brugmansia, although thicker cuttings tolerate lower humidity. In northern climes they are often grown out in large containers and wintered over in non-freezing garages or basements.
Every part of Brugmansia suaveolens is poisonous, with the seeds and leaves being especially dangerous. As in other species of Brugmansia, B. suaveolens is rich in Scopolamine (hyoscine), hyoscyamine, atropine, and several other tropane alkaloids. Effects of ingestion can include paralysis of smooth muscles, confusion, tachycardia, dry mouth, diarrhea, visual and auditory hallucinations, mydriasis, rapid onset cycloplegia, and death.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Treated as Brugmansia suaveolens by Kartesz (1999); sometimes treated as Datura suaveolens.