Starting with today’s entry, we welcome Connor Fitzpatrick to BPotD. Connor is a third-year student at UBC, and he’s going to be helping me with write-ups and photographs for BPotD over the next ten weeks. He’s already been assigned to approach UBC faculty and grad students for a BPotD series on plant research at UBC, for the upcoming Celebrate Research week. Welcome, Connor! — Daniel.
A member of the Solanaceae family, this plant’s common names include angel’s trumpet and angel’s tears. It’s not hard to imagine why people commonly name this plant the angel’s trumpet. Only a flower like this could look as sweet as it sounds. However, Brugmansia suaveolens isn’t the only species to receive this common name. In fact, looking at GRIN’s records of species for Brugmansia, nearly all have been likened to heavenly brass.
GRIN reports this plant as having a native range throughout Brazil and western South America (Bolivia and Peru). This plant has been used for centuries by people as an antiasthmatic and antispasmodic medication as well as a hallucinogen (see PDF link below). The chemicals in Brugmansia suaveolens responsible for this activity are called tropane alkaloids. They are produced to undertake the role of defence against herbivores. Here (PDF) is an interesting experiment by Zayed & Wink from 2004 regarding the production of tropane alkaloids in Brugmansia suaveolens.