Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia arborea) at Vaucluse House

the white centre of the phot is the flower of the Angel's Trumpet plant, with big soft green leaves surrounding it

The stunning Angel’s Trumpet at Vaucluse House. Photo Cameron Allan © Sydney Living Museums.

One of the most stunning plants growing at Vaucluse House is the Angel’s Trumpet. This versatile plant has a long history in colonial gardens.

Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia arborea) is a beautiful perennial shrub native to South America. It was introduced to the colony from Rio de Janeiro for its attractive trumpet flowers. It likes full exposure to the sun, but can grow in partial shade. It was often cultivated as a feature plant in colonial gardens and can still be seen in many today.

Angel’s Trumpet is a semi-thirsty plant that likes to be watered often, although the ones at Vaucluse House seem to thrive on neglect. It prefers consistently moist soil but does not like to be waterlogged, making the sandy soil at Vaucluse a perfect growing medium. It can grow up to 4.5m tall with leaves that are oval shaped and up to 25cm long by 15cm wide. The beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers can grow up to 20-35cm long and hang almost straight down. They produce an intoxicating fragrance after sunset that attracts pollinators to the flowers.

the white centre of the photo is the hanging flower of the Angel's Trumpet plant, with big soft green leaves surrounding it. the flowers get this name due to their trumpet shape.

These trumpet-shaped flowers produce a beautiful fragrance after sunset.

Photo Cameron Allan © Sydney Living Museums

the light colour at the top of the image is the sandstone building Vaucluse House. in front of the building is the angles trumpet plant with its off white hanging flowers.

The Angel’s Trumpet by the west turret at Vaucluse House.

Photo Cameron Allan © Sydney Living Museums.

One of the many qualities of the Angel’s Trumpet is its hardiness, if it gets too hot and thirsty it will shrivel up but will then respond very quickly to watering and will quickly bounce back to full health.

It is often confused with the Datura species because both plants have trumpet-shaped flowers. However, Brugmansia flowers point down whereas Datura point up. In total there are 7 recognised species of Brugmansia but several hybrids and cultivars have been developed around the world for use as ornamental plants. They produce a smooth and narrow fruit, though be warned all parts of the plant are toxic.

The Angel’s Trumpet can be found growing by the west turret at Vaucluse House and in the Pleasure Garden. It is a great example of one of the many historic plants present at Vaucluse House. It first appears on the 1845 plant catalogue for Camden ParkSydney’s mild climate made it an easy and popular plant to grow in gardens from the mid 19th century onwards. 

 

 

the lush greenery of the Vaucluse House pleasure Garden. The white hanging flowers in the centre of the image belong to the Angels Trumpet.

Another Angel’s Trumpet beautifully positioned in the Pleasure Garden.

Photo Cameron Allan © Sydney Living Museums.

About the author

Cameron Allan, A Visitor Interpretation Officer at Sydney Living Museums in his uniform which is a white business shirt and he is in front of a book display at the Vaucluse House Shop

Cameron Allan

Visitor & Interpretation Officer

Cameron is a Visitor & Interpretation Officer at Sydney Living Museums.