Downy thorn apple Downy thorn apple| Tokyo Food Safety Information Center | Bureau of Public Health, Tokyo Metropolitan Government 

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Downy thorn apple

It originates in South East Asia and is a naturalized plant that entered Japan between Edo and Meiji periods. An annual grass that grows to a height of around 1 meter and blooms white long funnel-shaped flowers from summer to the beginning of autumn. Fruit is large in size and densely covered with thorns and splits into 4 when ripe and scatters many flat seeds. There exist many types, such as angel’s trumpet and similar.


Habitat It grows on meadows and in open spaces and is cultivated in the gardens.
Parts of the plant that may be ingested accidentally. Leaves, roots, seeds. There are many cases of its root being mistaken for burdock. There have been cases when sprout was mistakenly ingested as okra and seed as sesame.
Symptoms Vomiting, dilated pupils, breathing disorder, cramps, breathing difficulties, etc.
Venomous constituents Hyoscyamine, atropine, scopolamine and other alkaloids. Whole plant is poisonous.

Downy thorn apple

Above: downy thorn apple bud (poisonous)
and below: okra (edible)

Downy thorn apple fruit


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