D. stramonium is a foul-smelling, erect annual, freely branching herb that forms a bush up to 2 to 5 feet (60–150 cm) tall.
The root is long, thick, fibrous and white. The stem is stout, erect, leafy, smooth, and pale yellow-green. The stem forks off repeatedly into branches, and at each fork forms a leaf and a single, erect flower.
The leaves are approximately 3 to 8 inches (8–20 cm) long, smooth, toothed, soft, irregularly undulate. The upper surface of the leaves is a darker green, and the bottom is a light green. The leaves have a bitter and nauseating taste, which is imparted to extracts of the herb, and remains even after the leaves have been dried.