Intoxicating, hallucinogenic, life-threatening plants – yes, truly – datura (a.k.a. Angel’s trumpet, or brugmansia) have been prized as sacred in many cultures.
Originating from south America, this member of the nightshade family can be grown in greenhouses – and outside, during summer months, as ornamental, which range from white to pale purple via yellow and pink.
Angel’s trumpets bloom at night, pumping out a heady, sweet scent which nowadays is often recreated synthetically. Probably just as well: the datura flower has been linked to many deaths, and has many powerful and/or downright dangerous side-effects. Down the years, those have been harnessed in rituals to induce a hallucinogenic state which allowed mere mortals to connect with the Gods (so legend has it). In voodoo, datura is used to induce ‘Zombification’.
There are other heady, rich, sweet flowers that can be used to add magic to perfumery, though. So there’s some suggestion that datura, or angel’s trumpet, is used mostly for its mythical status rather than any unique aromatic qualities…
Smell datura in:
Serge Lutens Datura Noir