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Seed of the Week: Solanum

As Craig figured out, our mystery seeds from last week were from plants of the genus Solanum.

nightshade-purple-flower-104The seeds were from the above plants, which are silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium), I believe.

nightshade-leaves-6

The plants have silvery green leaves...

purple-flower-

and purple flowers.

solanum-silverleaf-nightshade-dried-fruit-135The seeds are found in bright orange-yellow fruit.

Several nightshades in the genus Solanum grow in Arizona.

sonoran-nightshade362This is the similar Sonoran or Hinds' nightshade, Solanum hindsianum.

sonoran-nightshade-with-leaves-66The Sonoran nightshade has smaller leaves.

tomato-flowerOf course, you might recognize some other members of the genus, such as Solanum lycopersicum, or tomatoes.

solanum-potato-bush-flowers87

Another common member of the same family (Solanaceae) is the blue potato bush vine, a landscape plant that is buzz pollinated by bees. It used to be called Solanum rantonnetii, but has recently been moved to the genus Lycianthes. As you can see, the purple flowers are similar in structure to the nightshades above.

Doe silverleaf nightshade grow where you live? What about other members of the genus Solanum?

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