Nightshade, Hairy, Solanum sarachoides

Life Cycle

Annual

Propagation

Reproducing only by seed.

Stems

Branching and softly hairy, up to 1m long, spreading or erect.

Leaves

Alternate (1 per node), ovate to nearly triangular with a dull green to gray-green colour. The leaves are finely hairy, especially along margins and main veins (Figure 4). Some of the leaf hairs have tiny glandular tips (seen under magnification), giving the plant a slightly sticky or clammy texture. Margins of leaves typically smooth (Figure 4) but occasionally with coarse, irregular, rounded teeth.

Flowers and Fruit

Inflorescence of 3-9 flowers in a short raceme sticking out from the side of the stem rather than from the axil of a leaf. The corolla is typically white but can be tinged with bluish-purple color (Figure 3). The calyx at first is small but enlarging with age to 4-9mm across at maturity and acting as a cup around the lower half (stem end) of the fruit. The fruit is a greenish berry turning yellowish-brown to brown at maturity. Flowers from July to October.

Habitat

A native of South America, Hairy nightshade is found in southern Ontario in cultivated fields on both mineral and muck soils.

Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its relatively small, thick, non-translucent leaves, its finely hairy stem and leaves that are slightly sticky or clammy and its fruit being green but then turning yellowish-brown to brown at maturity.


Figure #1.

Hairy nightshade. A. Plant. B. Cluster of flowers.


Figure #2.


Figure #3.


Figure #4.


Figure #5.


Figure #6.