Brugmansia Species & IUCN Status

Brugmansia have large fragrant flowers which give them their common name of Angel's Trumpets, a name sometimes used for the closely related genus Datura. All seven species are listed as extinct in the wild by the IUCN Red List. 

Carl Linnaeus first classified these plants as part of Datura with his 1753 description of Datura arborea. Then in 1805, C. H. Persoon transferred them into a separate genus, Brugmansia, named for Dutch naturalist Sebald Justinus Brugmans. For another 168 years, various authors placed them back and forth between the genera of Brugmansia and Datura, until in 1973, with his detailed comparison of morphological differences, T.E. Lockwood settled them as separate genera, where they have stayed unchallenged since.

Brugmansia are native to tropical regions of South America, along the Andes from Venezuela to northern Chile, and also in south-eastern Brazil. A member of the deadly nightshade family, the Solanaceae, Angel's Trumpets are rich in alkaloids.They are grown as ornamental container plants worldwide, and have become naturalised in isolated tropical areas around the globe, including within North America, Africa, Australia, and Asia.

We hold a large private collection of Brugmansia for sale. Most specimens are hybrid variations of the parent plant. We are  attempting to grow a collection of all seven native Brugmansia species as listed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. All  seven Brugmansia species are listed as extinct in the wild by the IUCN Red List. Please see the plant shop for Brugmansia for sale.

 

All seven Brugmansia species are listed below. These species are then divided into two natural, genetically isolated groups cold growing (CG) and warm growing (WG). Please click on a variety for more information about taxonomy, distribution and vulnerability.

  1.  Brugmansia Arborea - Andes - Ecuador to northern Chile (CG)

  2. Brugmansia Sanguinea - Andes - Colombia to northern Chile (CG)

  3. Brugmansia Vulcanicola - Andes - Colombia to Ecuador (CG)

  4. Brugmansia Aurea - Andes - Venezuela to Ecuador (WG)

  5. Brugmansia Insignis - E. Andes foothills - Colombia to Bolivia (WG)

  6. Brugmansia Suaveolens - Southeast Brazil (WG)

  7. Brugmansia Versicolor - Ecuador (WG) 

Brugmansia hardiness

1. Brugmansia Arborea

Brugmansia arborea is an evergreen shrub or small tree reaching up to 7 metres (23 ft) in height. The ovate leaves have coarsely toothed margins when in their best condition. The leaves, flower stalks, fruit, and especially the young shoots are covered with fine velvety white down. Flowers are strongly fragrant, trumpet-shaped, nodding to sub-horizontal, white to ivory-white or cream. At 12–17 centimetres (4.7–6.7 in) long, the flowers are the shortest of all Brugmansia. Flowers are produced almost continuously in smaller quantities, unlike many other Brugmansia that flower in larger flushes. The ovoid fruit have an average length of 6 centimetres (2.4 in) and width of 4.5 centimetres (1.8 in). The calyx is slit along one side and is very long in relation to the flower, and in this respect is often used as a quick check to verify correct identification. With a few exceptions, the green calyx usually reaches down almost all the way to the flower corolla's mouth.

 
Brugmansia Arborea distribution

B.Arborea recorded 100yr distribution  Map

They are native to the Andes mountains of southern Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia, and northern Chile. As the hardiest of all Brugmansia species in regards to both cold and drought, they are often found in the drier valleys of the Andes, in areas with an annual rainfall of 400–1,400 mm. Occurring at elevations of 2000 to 3000 m, it is not uncommon for them to receive light frosts.

 

Brugmansia arborea are usually pollinated by moths. They are attracted by the white color of the flowers and their fragrance that gets stronger in the evenings.

Growing conditions: Hardiness zones 9-11, (-5°C/25°F, 4°C/40°F) in Winter. It will stand short frosts, but generally does best in areas where the temperature rarely drops below 32°F. Provide a minimum Winter temperature of 7°C and reduce watering over the Winter. In cold Winter areas, plants can be brought indoors.

2. Brugmansia Sanguinea

Brugmansia sanguinea is a perennial shrub-like tree, indigenous to the midlands of South America. It can grow 15 feet (5 meters) tall, with long thin oval shaped leaves that grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and 6 inches (15 cm) wide. The flowers are up to 9 inches (23 cm) long, narrow and trumpet shaped, and range in color from a light pink to a deep blood-red, but can also be pure yellow, yellow–red, green–red and pure red. Unlike the closely related Golden Angel’s Trumpet, B. sanguinea’s flowers do not produce an aromatic fragrance and tend to be slightly smaller.

 
Brugmansia Sanguinea Distribution map

B.Sanguinea recorded 100yr distribution  Map

Blood-red Angel’s Trumpet is native to the midland and lowland areas around the Andes mountain range in South America. It grows wildly throughout Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. It has also been found growing at sea level in Chile. They are endemic to the Andes mountains from Colombia to northern Chile at elevations from 2,000 to 3,000 m.

Growing conditions: 

The best temperature for germination is between 18-23°C). Avoid temperatures above 25°C for prolonged periods. 

 

This plant comes from higher elevations than typical Brugmansias, so it used to mild daytime temperatures, and nights that are cool. Temperatures above the 23°C can inhibit flowering, and the plant might decline if temperatures are consistently above 30°C, especially if nights are warm.

3. Brugmansia Vulcanicola

 

They are found in Columbia in regions of high altitude and even there only isolated plants are found. Growth habit is that of a small tree up to 14 feet tall. The calyx is split one to three times. Leaves are very small with very few hairs and are smooth and shiny growing from 3 ½ inches to 4 inches long. The corolla is tube shaped from 6 to 8 ½ inches. The widest point of the corolla tube is 1". The tubular-shaped flowers are the smallest of all Brugmansia at only 15 to 22 cm (6 to 9 in).  Flower life is from 5 to 8 days. Color is green at the base, red in the middle, eventually becoming yellow at the mouth. There is also a very rare pink form. Fruit is oval shaped and over 5" long with the surface being wrinkled and warty.

 
Brugmansia Vulcanicola Distribution map

B.Vulcanicola recorded 100yr distribution  Map

The vulcanicola is considered to be difficult to grow in hot climates preferring higher altitudes with cooler climates. Vulcanicola may be crossbred with B. arborea, B. X flava, B. sanguinea, and by other vulcanicola.

This plant comes from higher elevations than typical Brugmansias, so it used to mild daytime temperatures, and nights that are cool. Temperatures above the 23°C can inhibit flowering, and the plant might decline if temperatures are consistently above 30°C, especially if nights are warm.

4. Brugmansia Aurea

Brugmansia aurea (Golden Angel's Trumpet) is a species of plant in the Solanaceae family. It is endemic to Ecuador. Since March 2014, it has been listed as Extinct in the Wild by the IUCN but before that, it was listed as Vulnerable.

Brugmansia aurea is a perennial woody shrub-like tree, native to the highlands of South America. It can grow up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall, with long thin oval shaped leaves which can grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and 6 inches (15 cm) wide. The flowers are up to 9 inches (23 cm) long, narrow and trumpet shaped, and range in color from white to golden yellow. They are especially noted for their strong aromatic fragrance at night and large dark brown to black seeds.

 
Brugmansia Aurea Distribution map

B.Aurea recorded 100yr distribution  Map

Golden Angel’s Trumpet is native to the highland areas around the Andes mountain range in South America. It is very well known throughout southern Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. It has also been transplanted throughout Mexico and Central America, and it is frequently confused with Datura, as the plants contain similar alkaloid.

Growing conditions: During winter, water sparingly and ensure there is a minimum night temperature of 7-10°C and day temperatures between 10-12°C.

5. Brugmansia Insignis

Brugmansia insignis is predominantly found in gardens in the Andean foothills of western Amazonia where it is an important plant in indigenous medicine and rituals. 

It is very variable in leaf, ranging from very dark green, very narrow and almost willow-like to lighter green and broadly elliptic in shape. The pink or white flowers are funnel-shaped and closely resemble the East Brazilian B. suaveolens except that the corolla neck is usually (but not always) very long, and the petal tips are extended into thin filamentous points. The fruit is always rough, grooved, strongly leathery and spindle-shaped, in contrast to the smoother spindle-shaped fruits of B. suaveolens. 

This species is very seldom seen outside northwestern South America, and has been little used in hybridising programs, except for a few examples from the Herrenhäuser Gärten in Germany, such as ‘Pride of Hannover’ and ‘Pink Favorite’.

 
Brugmansia Insignis Distrbution map

B.Insignis recorded 100yr distribution  Map

They are endemic to the upper Amazon region, at the eastern base of the Andes mountains of Peru. 

 

Brugmansia x insignis is a hybrid of B. suaveolens and B. versicolor, and was almost certainly created through cultivation. Many indigenous peoples in South America plant these beautiful trees in home gardens. It hails from the West Amazon, but has spread to other tropical areas, including Mexico.

Growing conditions: Bring them outside around March-April but only during the day to harden them. As soon as the danger of frost is over, around May-June, you can leave them outside. In winter, put them in a room where the temperature is ideally around 13 °C and does not fall below 5 °C. Limit watering without letting the root ball dry out completely, the plant would die.

6. Brugmansia Suaveolens

Brugmansia suaveolens is a semi-woody shrub or small tree that gets to 1.8-4.6 m high, usually with a many-branched single trunk. Its pendulous trumpet-shaped flowers are highly distinctive - the flowers can be white, cream, yellow and pale orange or even pale pink in some varieties). The leaves of Brugmansia suaveolens are generally oval in shape, up to 25 cm long and 15.2 cm)wide, and even larger when grown in the shade. The flowers are remarkably beautiful, sweetly fragrant, about 30 cm long and shaped like trumpets. The corolla has five points that are slightly recurved. The flowers are usually white but may be yellow or pink and are pendulous, hanging almost straight down.

This Angel Trumpet was originally endemic to the coastal rainforests of south-east Brazil, where it grows below 1,000 m (3,300 ft) along river banks and forest edges with warm temperatures, high humidity, and heavy rainfall. As a result of human interaction with this species, it can now be found growing in residential areas throughout much of South America; and occasionally in Central America, Mexico, California and even in parts of Florida

Growing conditions:  grown  year-round in non-freezing climates around the world. Like other large-leaved, fast-growing plants, they appreciate a little protection from the wind, as well as from the hottest afternoon sun. They like organically rich soil, frequent water, and heavy fertilizer when in full growth. Both woody and leafy tip cuttings are used to propagate Brugmansia, although thicker cuttings tolerate lower humidity. In northern climes they are often grown out in large containers and wintered over in non-freezing garages or basements.

 
Brugmansia Suaveolens Distribution map

B.Suaveolens recorded 100yr distribution  Map

7. Brugmansia Versicolor

Brugmansia versicolor is a perennial tree shrub that grows up to three meters in height. The flowers are large and trumpet-shaped, come in various shapes and colors, and hang straight down. The fruits are thin capsules, which also hang straight down. The leaves are oval with pointed ends. B. versicolor is easily confused with other species of Brugmansia, which has most likely led to mistakes in its identification in ethnographic literature.

It appears that Brugmansia versicolor is a very important Amazonian shamanic plant but very little information regarding it is available.  It is very possible that ethnographic reports have been misidentifying Brugmansia species, and that much of the information regarding B. suaveolens and B. x insignis actually refers to B. versicolor.

 

Brugmansia versicolor is found in the Northwestern Amazonian rainforest, primarily in Ecuador and northern Peru.

 
Brugmansia Versicolor Distribution map

B.Versicolor recorded 100yr distribution  Map

Hybrids

Several hybrids and numerous cultivars have been developed for use as ornamental plants. B. × candida is a hybrid between B. aurea and B. versicolor; B. × flava is a hybrid between B. arborea and B. sanguinea; and B. × cubensis[12] is a hybrid between B. suaveolens, B. versicolor, and B. aurea. There are cultivars producing double flowers, and some with variegated leaves. The cultivar B. × candida 'Grand Marnier' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Native Distribution of Brugmansia 

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References

Hay, A. (2014). "Brugmansia arborea"IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved March 7, 2015.

Hay, Alistair; Gottschalk, Monika; Holguín, Adolfo (July 15, 2012). Huanduj: Brugmansia. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. ISBN 978-1-84246-477-9. Retrieved December 24, 2012.

Preissel, Ulrike; Preissel, Hans-Georg (2002). Brugmansia and Datura: Angel's Trumpets and Thorn ApplesBuffalo, New YorkFirefly Books. pp. 106–129. ISBN 1-55209-598-3.

Ratsch, Christian., The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and its Applications.Rochester: Park Street Press, 1998.

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