Hairy Nightshade
Solanum physalifolium Rusby
Family: Solanaceae, Nightshade
Genus: Solanum
Synonyms: Solanum sarrachoides
Other names: hoe nightshade
Nomenclature: physalifolium
Nativity / Invasiveness: introduced plant
Medicinal plant
Toxic plant
Description

General: branching annual 15-60 cm tall, softly spreading-hairy, the hairs flattened, sticky, often gland-tipped.

Leaves: alternate, stalked, the blade ovate to triangular, irregularly shallowly blunt-toothed or almost entire, mostly 2-8 cm long and 1-5.5 cm wide, evidently spreading-hairy along the main veins beneath, sometimes over one or both surfaces as well.

Flowers: few in numerous clusters on main cluster stalks 0.5-2.5 cm long, ascending. The individual flower stalks clustered almost umbel-like, mostly bent down, at least in fruit. Calyx sticky-short-hairy, enlarging at maturity to 4-6 mm long, the 5 lobes often unequal, sometimes bent back. Corolla white or faintly bluish, 7-12 mm wide when expanded, the 5 lobes almost triangular. May-October.

Fruits: berries, round, greenish or yellowish, about 8 mm thick, the lower half covered by the calyx. Seeds numerous, flattened.


Distribution

A weed in fields, along roadsides, and in other disturbed sites, mostly in rather moist soil, in w., c. and some n.e. parts of MT. Native to S. America, now widely introduced elsewhere in the world.
Medicinal Uses

The Paiute Indians used the ripe fruit eaten or a decoction of dried fruit taken for diarrhea.



Toxic Properties

Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many if not all the members have poisonous leaves and sometimes also the unripe fruits.


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