Datura inoxiaI finally caught it blooming late tonight under an almost perfectly full moon. I’d only found mysterious fallen brown flowers beneath the leaves before.  It is definitely datura inoxia – Moonflower – the night-blooming datura. This type has a trumpet within a trumpet. The flowers smell absolutely divine like the richest perfume. If only I could bottle it…

Moonflower is the friend of shamans, healers, and Saturnian witches. She breaks spells sent to harm you and protects you from evil spirits. She’ll even let you borrow her wings to fly and take you to extraordinary places. But she’ll also show you things you wish you hadn’t seen and she’ll make you afraid of her. Sometimes it’s better to to view her from afar and not touch the Moonflower. Sometimes it’s better just to wait for her to bloom on a cool summer night under a full moon and deeply inhale her beautiful scent… and then quietly go back to bed.

Author Sarah

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Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • neimh says:

    She is indeed a formidable mistress; seductive and alluring – but her allure can quickly lead to madness. She is certainly stunning.

  • Judit Lingon says:

    Wonderful experience you had!

  • Pombagira says:

    a friend told me once about falling asleep under a datura tree.. he had very intense dreams, quite shaman like, which he then said was way better than ingesting the plant.. which leads me to wonder if the way back then usage was actually inhaling the scent, and not so much ingesting the plant material..

    *ponders this*

    i guess the only thing to add to that is sweet dreams.. !!


  • Celestite says:

    I love the Moonflower, very mystical as well as beautiful. I used to have a large trellis where I grew giant morning glories and moonflowers intertwined. At dawn the morning glories would open and then fade away and in the dark the moonflowers would bloom and fade away before the dawn.

  • Scylla says:

    Her scent is the true magick, IMO. Ingestion is too powerful, and can just as easily kill (and sometimes, it wants to).

    I think there should be a way of bottling the scent, though. Perhaps harvesting the flowers just before they “pop”, and putting them in alcohol or oil? Oil for a salve, alcohol for a perfume.

  • Max says:

    Here in Mexico she is called “Toloache” and is used by women to poison their men to fall in love.. They usually add seeds to the food of their lover, Its a very common practice in the ignorant ppl in Mexico, the only thing they do is to make their husbands stupid…

    But I use it for Flying Ointments…

    Hey heres a question.. You are a grat gardener, so Why dont you grow Mandrake?

  • sara says:

    I would actually hesitate to try to bottle the scent… Alcohol and oil and water are all different in what they will pick up from a plant material, depending on the solubility of the active compounds. If my toloaches will get a move on and grow, and I get blooms, however, I’ll be trying to reverse engineer the odor, for sure. I’d be afraid of picking up alkaloids with alcohol, afraid of picking up skin irritants with oil, and afraid of getting both with water, working with the blooms themselves.

  • Nix says:

    I am quite sure you already know this, Sarah, but if you wanted to make an essence of the flower, although there is also the Enfleurage technique.

    Step 1
    Bring a glass or ceramic plate and small scissors and head out to find flowers for your essence. Select flowers that you wish to use either from your garden, or wild ones that you can identify and find research about if possible. Be sure not to take any endangered species and don’t over-harvest. These must be still growing on the plant & it’s best to find newly opened blooms. Best to start essences between 8:30 am and 10:00 am!

    Step 2
    Select flowers that are in bloom and it’s best if you can identify them. Read the research on each flower to determine which ones to use. Suggested books to research are The Flower Essence Repertory, Healing with Flower or Gemstone Essences, or The Flower Remedies Handbook, or Flower Essences & Vibrational Healing.

    Step 3
    Once you have selected your flowers, gently clip a few flowers with stems onto the plate. Because these are vibrational essences, do not touch the flowers with your fingers at any time during this process as this will add your energy to the essence.

    Step 4
    Fill your clean glass bowl 2/3 full with distilled water. With a tweezers gently pluck each flower petal and drop into the water. Depending on what type of flower you use, a small scissors can be used. You want the flowers to cover the water.

    Step 5
    Once you have all the flowers floating in the water, cover it with cheesecloth and place it in the sunshine for 3 to 4 hours. It’s best to make essences on a sunny day, however, if it’s overcast allow them to stay out for the full 4 hours. In the picture, we used a copper pyramid to enhance the energy of the essences, but it is not necessary.

    Step 6
    Once your flowers are ready, strain the water through a coffee filter into a jar or jars. Add the brandy to the essence solution (50-50)
    Label and date your flower essence and store in a cool dark place. It is not necessary to refrigerate. Flower essences last indefinitely.
    This is your ‘Mother bottle’ which you will use to make dosage bottles.

    Lovely post and thank you again for sharing your night garden!

  • sara says:

    Not to nitpick, but enfleurage is quite different from that. It’s a scent-extraction technique where one has frames smeared with fat, and places freshly-picked blooms into the fat on those, replacing them as often as they deteriorate and lose their scent. When the fat is sufficiently impregnated with the aroma, one can ‘wash’ the final pomade (the scented fat) with alcohol to retrieve an alcohol-based absolute. Or one can keep the pomade intact. There are probably ways to extract the essence under pressure with solvents, too.

    The Egyptians practiced enfleurage, and it was the way to extract just about anything floral which could not be steam-distilled, before the advent of solvents. It’s also a good way to get the scent of a flower that doesn’t submit to solvent-extraction well, like gardenia or lilac.

    You totally read my mind, though, Nix, with the Flower Essences :). I was just reading about those this afternoon. And thinking about Impomoea alba.

  • OK, that settles it. Now I definitely have to get me some innoxia seeds and grow some of these mysterious beauties in my own backyard!

  • Harold Roth says:

    I’ve worked with this plant for a while, and I would suggest not tincturing the flowers, because the alkaloids would go into the alcohol. I have not tried enfleurage with these flowers, but I don’t have a lot of faith it would be productive, because these flowers only give off the scent at certain times and they only last a day or so. I have not tried picking one and seeing if it still gives off the scent, though. I have tried sleeping under them and did not have any particular experiences. However, maybe I just did not have enough flowers around me. The flowers have a kind of lemony scent, IMO, and I have in the past worked on an oil trying to duplicate that scent. IME, though, I always smell the leaves as well as the flower, even if I am right over the flower, and the leaves don’t smell good.

    I do love the flowers on this plant, I must say.

  • Nix says:

    Hey Sara
    I actually had just mentioned that enfleurage was another alternative to the directions listed below. But great additional info!!

  • Jeff Underwood says:

    Absolutely Beautiful. That was my thoughts when I read this the other day. Not just the flower but also the writing.

  • Kaviani says:

    I’ve worked with toloache for over a decade now. I encourage people to develop their own working relationship with this magnificent plant. One caveat- do not ingest the blooms. She will retaliate.

  • Valiel says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing gift… I wish I could have been there to see and smell.

  • Scordra says:

    This is a beautiful picture!! And thanks for the write too!! I was searching for some answers as to why I might have dreamed about a Moon Flower last night. In my dream a faery was helping them to open. I couldn’t quite see her fully, or the flowers open up…but it was just something known in my dream…a faery was opening the flowers. And I remember calling them Moon Flowers and knowing this when I woke up as important. She warned me about touching them as they are toxic. This I don’t quite understand but I remember thinking in my dream I would wash my hands LOL. If anyone can help me with my dream I’d appreciate it!! BB, G

    • Sounds like it could be a true dream. Trees have dryads in Greek mytholody, and many other cultures believe spirits dwell in plants. Datura is toxic, even to the touch, but you can build up a resistance with just a little bit of handling at a time.

  • Nex Umbra says:

    Forgive me if I am mistaken, but isn’t it the D.metel that produces the trumpet within a trumpet? I have some D.stramonium and what I believe is D.inoxia growing in my yard. The D.inoxia grew here on it’s own and the D.stramonium I received as a gift from my friends in Russia. I live in Washington state (we’re not too far from each other I think) and what has cropped up looks much like D.inoxia from what I’ve gathered. It grows with the pilose greyish “fur” and the spiny seed pods. From what I’ve gathered D.metel has the more knobby seed pods much like D.stramonium except it resembles D.inoxia with the glabrous leaves. I thought this was the one distinct feature in D.inoxia was how much more tiny and sharp the spines are along the thorn apple. When it blossoms at night, it usually has the white trumpet flowers with purple edges in either pentacle star shapes or rounded trumpets with five little spurs on the edges of the flower. Along the rim of it, there is a purple border. I know that most varieties of datura will take on different colours ranging from white, purple, red, orange and yellow. It would be good to know the most proper identification of my plant as I believe even the most subtle differences are profoundly important in my work. It seems a lot has been misinterpreted or left out of many herbals containing various plants simply because they are considered noxious weeds. Any input and information you have to offer would be greatly appreciated. I have recently found your blogs and work online and I am incredibly enamored by your creativity and detailed (as well as thoroughly authentic) work. I so look forward to reading your blogs, making orders (maybe possible trades sometimes?) and hopefully communicating with your futher. All of the blessings above and below! – Nex Umbra