datura on thick stem with prickly fruit

Microscopic Characters of Datura- Insight into Its Microscopic Characters

Microscopic Characters of Datura- Datura is belonging to the family Solanaceae, is a genus of plant species known for their unique morphology, medicinal properties, and high toxicity. The microscopic characterization of Datura provides a deeper insight into its botanical features and plays a significant role in plant identification, quality control, and further research studies.

Microscopic Characters of Datura
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Microscopic Characters of Datura Leaves

Under a microscope, Datura leaves exhibit several distinctive features:

  • Epidermis: The leaf epidermis is unicellular and wavy-walled, covered with a thin layer of cuticle. The epidermal cells are rectangular in shape and arranged compactly.
  • Mesophyll: The leaf tissue below the epidermis, known as mesophyll, differentiates into palisade and spongy parenchyma. The palisade parenchyma, situated beneath the upper epidermis, contains abundant chloroplasts for photosynthesis. The spongy parenchyma, located towards the lower epidermis, has many intercellular spaces facilitating gaseous exchange.
  • Vascular Bundles: Inside the midrib of the leaf, the vascular bundles are conjoint and collateral, surrounded by a sheath. The xylem, responsible for water transportation, is present towards the upper epidermis, while the phloem, which transports food substances, is located towards the lower side.

Microscopic Characters of Datura Stem

When observed microscopically, the stem of Datura reveals some specific features:

  • Epidermis and Cortex: The stem has a significant epidermal layer followed by collenchyma tissues and cortex.
  • Pith Cells: The central part of the stem, known as the pith, is composed of large, rounded cells.
  • Vascular Bundles: The stem’s vascular bundles are collateral and open, characterized by the presence of a cambium ring. Phloem fibers are also present in patches.

The understanding of these Microscopic Characters of Datura is essential not only for the identification and classification of Datura species but also for the quality control of medicinal preparations derived from them. Various phytochemical constituents, such as alkaloids like hyoscyamine and scopolamine, contribute to Datura’s medicinal and toxicological properties, reinforcing the importance of precise and careful microscopic analysis.

Microscopic Characters of Datura Flowers

The flower of the Datura plant has a unique set of Microscopic Characters of Datura that give it its distinct biological and pharmacological attributes. Datura flowers are complete and are noted for their large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped corolla.

Microscopic Characters of Datura Flowers
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Epidermal Cells

Upon microscopic examination, the epidermal cells of Datura flowers are seen to be flat, polygonal and closely packed. These cells are covered with a thin, smooth cuticle. Stomata are typically absent on the petals.


One of the distinguishing microscopic features of Datura flowers is the presence of trichomes. There are two types of trichomes present: glandular and non-glandular. The glandular trichomes consist of a short stalk and a head with secretory cells. They play a role in the secretion of nectar and fragrant oils that attract pollinators. Non-glandular trichomes, on the other hand, are unicellular or multicellular and unbranched, and they contribute to the protection of the flower.

Vascular Bundles

The vascular bundles in the petals are collateral and closed. They consist of phloem and xylem tissues, with the phloem positioned on the outside and the xylem on the inside. The vascular bundles are responsible for the transport of water, nutrients, and sugars within the flower.

Pollen Grains

The Datura pollen grains, visible under higher magnification, are spherical and covered with spines. They are tricolpate, which means they have three furrows or apertures. This feature is typical of many flowering plants and aids in the plant’s pollination.

Ovules and Embryo Sac

The ovules of Datura flowers is enclosed within the ovary, are anatropous (have a curved structure), which is a common characteristic of flowering plants. The embryo sac is seen within the ovule upon higher magnification and contains the egg cell that will eventually be fertilized to form the seed.

Understanding the microscopic characters of Datura flowers is crucial in botanical and pharmacognostical studies. These features play a significant role in the plant’s reproductive biology, its interaction with pollinators, and its pharmacological properties. It’s also vital for identifying and authenticating Datura species in the pharmaceutical industry.

Phytochemical Analysis of Datura

Phytochemical analysis refers to the study of the chemical constituents derived from plants, which contribute to their therapeutic or harmful effects. Datura, like many other plants in the Solanaceae family, contains a wide range of phytochemicals. The primary ones include alkaloids, phenols, flavonoids, and tannins, among others.


Datura is most well-known for its potent alkaloids. The key alkaloids found in Datura are hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and atropine.

  • Hyoscyamine: This alkaloid is mainly found in the leaves and seeds of Datura. It has antispasmodic effects and has been used in traditional medicine for conditions like asthma, pain, and gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Scopolamine: Scopolamine, also known as hyoscine, is a powerful compound used for its anticholinergic properties. It’s been used to treat motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting. However, its high toxicity makes dosage determination critical.
  • Atropine: Atropine, found in smaller amounts in Datura, is a well-known antidote for nerve gas and pesticide poisoning. It’s also used to dilate the pupils during eye exams.


Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Datura contains various flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol, contributing to the plant’s medicinal potential.


Tannins, found in Datura leaves and seeds, have astringent properties and play a crucial role in healing wounds and inflammation.

Other Compounds

Datura also contains small amounts of other phytochemicals, including phenols, saponins, terpenoids, and steroids, each having unique therapeutic implications.

Understanding the phytochemical composition of Datura is fundamental to appreciating its medicinal properties and toxic potential fully. This knowledge allows researchers to harness these compounds for therapeutic use while being aware of their potential side effects. It also assists in the identification and authentication of Datura species in the pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmacological Uses of Datura

The use of Datura in traditional medicine dates back centuries, thanks to its rich phytochemical composition, particularly the presence of potent alkaloids like hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and atropine. Here are some key pharmacological applications of Datura:

Anticholinergic Uses

Both scopolamine and hyoscyamine have potent anticholinergic properties. They inhibit the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system. This effect has been used to treat various conditions such as:

  • Motion sickness and nausea: Scopolamine, in particular, is commonly used in the form of transdermal patches to prevent motion sickness and the associated symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: The anticholinergic effect helps to relax the smooth muscles, slowing down the gastrointestinal tract. This property has been exploited to manage various gastrointestinal conditions like peptic ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.

Anesthetic Preparations

Scopolamine is often used in lower doses in pre-anesthetic medication to reduce salivation and prevent bradycardia during surgery.

Ophthalmic Uses

Atropine, though present in smaller quantities in Datura, is used in ophthalmology to dilate pupils for eye examinations. It also helps in the treatment of inflammatory conditions of the eye.

Respiratory Disorders

Historically, Datura has been used in traditional medicine to manage respiratory conditions like asthma and cough. It’s thought that the anticholinergic effect helps relax the bronchial muscles, providing relief from symptoms.

Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory

Some studies suggest that Datura may have analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties, although these effects are less well-studied and understood than the anticholinergic properties.

While Datura has a range of potential pharmacological uses, it’s crucial to note that the plant and its alkaloids are highly toxic in high doses. Overdose can lead to severe anticholinergic syndrome, characterized by symptoms like dry mouth, blurred vision, photophobia, hallucinations, and even coma or death in severe cases. Therefore, any therapeutic use of Datura should be carried out under professional supervision.


From leaf to flower, from stem to seeds, every part of the Datura plant presents a complex interplay of microscopic structures and phytochemical constituents that make it a fascinating subject of study in pharmacognosy. The plant’s rich trove of alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, and other compounds contribute to its unique pharmacological properties, making it a valuable resource in traditional medicine and modern pharmaceutical applications.

However, the potent nature of Datura’s alkaloids also accounts for its high toxicity, reminding us of the delicate balance that must be maintained when harnessing nature’s pharmacopeia. The use of Datura in medicine underlines the importance of careful dosage control and professional supervision to maximize therapeutic benefit while minimizing potential harm.

The microscopic characterization of Datura, along with the understanding of its phytochemical profile, paves the way for quality control in the pharmaceutical industry and guides further research into potential therapeutic applications. As we continue to explore this potent plant, the microscopic world of Datura continues to reveal its secrets, reminding us of the intricate complexities that lie beneath the surface of our natural world.

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