Brugmansia arborea (L.) Sweet

Frost tender open shrub or tree with robust stems, large, ovate, often coarsely-toothed leaves, and trumpet-shaped, scented white flowers, to 15cm long, from spring to autumn.  To 4m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Botanically described as Datura arborea by Linnaeus in 1753 [Sp.Pl. vol.1, p.179/1753]. Transferred to Brugmansia by Sweet as Brugmansia arborea in 1818 [Hort. Suburb. Lond. p.41/1818]. However, there has been considerable confusion of nomenclature of the white-flowered brugmansias. See the notes below.

Probably not introduced to Britain until the 1840s as Datura cornigera Hook. [Personal communication Alistair Hay].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1851 catalogues as Brugmansia arborea [T.173/1845]. It is probable that this plant was not grown at Camden at this time. There was considerable confusion with the identification of the white-flowered brugmansias in the 19th century, with all of them being called Datura arborea at one stage or another. There is no incontrovertible evidence of Brugmansia arborea being in Australia before the late 20th century. In the absence of such evidence it seems likely that Macarthur’s B. arborea was either B. suaveolens obtained under the wrong name or a single-flowered form of B. x candida. [Personal communication from Alistair Hay]. For further information see Hay, A., M. Gottschalk & A. Holguin (2011, in press). Huanduj — The Genus Brugmansia. Florilegium Books, Sydney.


Plants from the east and west of the Andes have been considered separate species, most often under the names of Brugmansia [Datura] arborea (L.) Steud., and Brugmansia [Datura] suaveolens (Willd.) Sweet.  A third plant was added to the white-flowered arboreous Brugmansias some decades later, Brugmansia [Datura] cornigera (Hook.) Lagerh.  See the notes from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine below. These plants were often conflated in nurseries and so it is difficult to be sure which plant was grown in the Camden Park gardens in the 19th century.  See also Brugmansia ‘Knightii’ and Brugmansia suaveolens (Willd.) Sweet.

‘A very singular Datura, the one here figured [Datura cornigera (Hook.) Lagerh.], has appeared in our gardens lately (the origin of which I have failed to ascertain), sometimes under the name of Brugmansia Knightii, and sometimes under that of Datura frutescens; it is unrecorded, so far as I can discover, in any book to which I have access.  With the habit of Brugmansia, it has not the calyx of that supposed genus, which seems to have been founded upon the well-known Datura arborea of our gardens, which has an inflated, tubular, obtuse calyx, cut at the mouth into several segments.  But this is not the D. arborea, Linn., and of Feuillée, Chil. t.46 (which is the authority for Linnaeus’ plant) nor of Ruiz and Pavon, t.128, where the calyx is acute and deeply cleft on one side, but appressed to the corolla, in that respect differing from our plant, of which the calyx is similarly cleft on one side, but runs out into a long, subulate, spreading point.  The Linnaean plant is the “Floripondio” of the Spaniards, according to Father Feuillée, and Ruiz and Pavon, and is commonly cultivated both in Chili and Peru; but I possess native specimens from the Andes of El Equador, where, Colonel Hall remarks, “it flourishes on the table-lands to an elevation of 9,500 feet, and where the mean temperature is about 50 degrees.”  The Datura arborea of our gardens, which I possess from the West Indies, where, however, it is probably only in a state of cultivation, must therefore have a new name, and I shall suggest that of D. Gardneri for it, in compliment to Mr. Gardner, who was not only the first (as far as I know) to distinguish it from the western or Pacific species, but to determine its locality.  In his Brazilian collection, my specimen (n.560) of this plant, bears the remark, “Is this quite the same as the plant from the other side of the South American continent?  This is a small tree, ten to twelve feet high, common on the banks of all the small rivers in the Organ Mountains. Tab.1837.”  The plant, here figured, thus makes a third clearly defined white-flowered shrubby Datura.  It merely requires the protection of a cool greenhouse.  In the summer it succeeds best in the open air, and bears its fine blossoms at that period.’  [BM t.4252/1846].

Published Feb 27, 2009 - 05:13 PM | Last updated Jun 14, 2011 - 04:29 PM

More details about Brugmansia arborea (L.) Sweet
Family Solanaceae
Region of origin

South America

  • Brugmansia cornigera (Hook.) Lagerh.
  • Datura arborea L.
  • Datura cornigera Hook.
Common Name

Common angels? trumpets

Name in the Camden Park Record

Brugmansia arborea 

Confidence level low