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Historically, the Angel Trumpet (Brugmansia) and Pigæble (Datura) have been called the same and this confusion is still quite common, although it has been many years since the error was corrected. Unfortunately, even at professional retailers of these beautiful plants, you will often come across incorrect designations. These are two completely different plants, which are only in a very distant family.
As you know, this website is about Brugmansia – the angel trumpet, but should you now be interested in girl apples – that is Datura, then you will also be able to enjoy this post.
Do you have the right name for your purchased plant?
A few years ago, I saw an Angel Trumpet erroneously sold in Bilka under the name Datura. Lidl is further ahead and even has species (but not hybrid) on their cheap plants, which are in stores in the early spring every year. Lidl can, therefore, best be recommended for the purchase of your first plants. When you know your plant’s plant name, it is easier to take care of it correctly. You can see the names of the species, for example, in the post about The difference between cold and hot varieties.
Some are amazed that their Lidl plants have a different color than the one shown on the packaging, but here one must be aware that Brugmansia can change color and shape within the first three years. This is a surprising but quite common phenomenon. Of course, I do not have to guarantee that Lidl cannot make mistakes in their handling of the plants. After all, they only cost around 15 kroner for a cutting. A price most plant centers oftentimes by ten!
I know some who buy new plants in Lidl every year instead of spending money, space, and energy on wintering. Of course, you never get giant plants out of it and have to wait for the growth phase every year, but it is still not a crazy way to get the plant if you, for example, live small.
If you shop online, it is even more random whether the correct name is used.
Even in large reputable plant centers, one will often experience incorrectly named plants. It is therefore important that you yourself are in control of the differences if you want to cultivate what we in Denmark know as the Angel Trumpet, namely Brugmansia.
I would never recommend you buy plants or seeds on either Wish or Ebay, you can see why in this post about eg Blue Angel Trumpets and other strange scams. It really is a black market that is completely unregulated, but after reading this post, you are of course better equipped to stop the scammers.
What about Trumpet Flower or Trumpet Tree?
To make the confusion even greater, there is unfortunately also a tendency to believe that Trumpet Flower and Trumpet Trees are also an Angel Trumpet, or even call it Brugmansia. However, this is an even bigger misunderstanding, as, for example, Trumpet Flower is a climbing plant that belongs to the Trumpet Tree family (Bignoniaceae). However, dealers of these plants seem to be in control of the naming, so it is more common for hobby growers who are mistaken. Therefore, if you go around saying trumpet flower or trumpet tree about your angel trumpets, it is wrong.
Trumpet flowers will not be discussed further in this post, but you can read more about the plant on the University of Copenhagen’s website here.
Both Datura and Brugmansia belong to the nightshade family, including potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. In this way, one can roughly say that the Angel Trumpet and the Girl Apple are related. So they are just as much related to tomatoes as each other.
In fact, it is not entirely stupid to call the Angel Trumpet and Tomato family because if you are used to growing tomatoes, you will have an easy time growing Brugmansia. It is basically the same cultivation method and the same challenges with the sun, lime, pests, etc.
All nightshade plants are poisonous to varying degrees, and that is why our beloved ornamental flowers have been misused as euphoric substances, and therefore we must treat them with caution. See more about this in the post on toxicity here.
Main differences between Brugmansia and Datura
When judging whether a plant is a Datura or a Brugmansia, look at the flowers first. If they point upwards, it is most likely a Datura and thus a Girl Apple. However, a few cold varieties of Brugmansia also have upward-pointing flower shoots while on the go, so the method is not 100% bulletproof.
When angel trumpets set flowers, they will often point directly into the air along the way, but shortly after emergence begins to fall more and more downward.