Solanum sarrachoides Sendtn.

Hairy Nightshade


CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 30

© SRTurner

Family - Solanaceae

Habit - Taprooted annual or short-lived perennial forb.

Solanum_sarrachoides_roots.jpg Roots.

© SRTurner

Stems - Erect to ascending or trailing, to 60 cm, herbaceous, fragrant with a pungent sweet scent, densely pubescent with short, spreading, multicellular, gland-tipped hairs and scattered, longer, spreading, often nonglandular hairs; unarmed, somewhat sticky.

Solanum_sarrachoides_stem1.jpg Lower stem.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_stem2.jpg Mid-upper stem.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Alternate, simple, petiolate. Petioles to 3.5 cm long, densely glandular-pubescent, often narrowly winged above the midpoint. Blades 1-8 cm long, simple, ovate, oblong-ovate, or triangular-ovate, angled or tapered to a usually sharply pointed tip, angled to rounded or occasionally truncate to slightly cordate at the base, the margins entire or more commonly wavy to bluntly toothed, the surfaces moderately to densely pubescent with short, spreading, multicellular, gland-tipped hairs, somewhat sticky.

Solanum_sarrachoides_leaf1.jpg Leaf adaxial.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_leaf2a.jpg Leaf abaxial surface. Dense glandularity leads to a degree of stickiness and adherent debris.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_leaf.jpg Pressed leaf.

© DETenaglia

Inflorescence - Axillary umbels of 3-5 flowers, the stalks nearly equal, to 6 mm long, glandular-pubescent, thickened toward the tips. Flowers spreading to more or less pendent. Peduncles 5-6 mm long, glandular-pubescent.

Solanum_sarrachoides_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_inflorescence2.jpg Flower peduncles.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Calyces 3-6 mm long at flowering, becoming enlarged to 6-11 mm at fruiting, 5-lobed to below the midpoint, the lobes equal, oblong-lanceolate, the outer surface densely glandular-hairy. Corollas 5-8 mm long, white to pale cream-colored, usually yellow to yellowish green in the throat, lobed to at or above the midpoint, the lobes broadly triangular, spreading at full flowering, the inner surface glabrous, the outer surface minutely nonglandular-hairy, especially toward the tip. Stamens 5, the anthers 1.6-2.0 mm long, yellow, oblong, lacking a sterile tip, dehiscing by terminal pores. Ovary green, glabrous, 1.2 mm in diameter, 2-locular, the style not or only slightly exserted from the anther ring, densely pubescent near the stigma.

Solanum_sarrachoides_flowers.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_calyces.jpg Calyces.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_corollas.jpg Corollas.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Globose berries 0.6-0.8 cm long, the basal half closely cupped by the persistent calyx tube, usually with 4-6 stony granules, the surface glabrous, olive green to brownish green at full maturity, shiny when young, but dull at maturity, when immature often with scattered, small white flecks or lighter mottling. Seeds 1.3-1.5 mm in longest dimension, broadly obovate to nearly circular in outline, often minutely notched at the attachment point, moderately to strongly flattened, unwinged, the surface faintly and minutely pitted, often appearing nearly smooth, yellow.

Solanum_sarrachoides_fruits.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Solanum_sarrachoides_fruit.jpg Sectioned fruit and immature seeds.

© SRTurner

Flowering - July - October.

Habitat - Streambanks, bottomland forests, glades, pastures, fencerows, farmyards, gardens, railroads, roadsides, open disturbed areas.

Origin - Native to South America.

Lookalikes - S. ptychanthum, S. americanum.

Other info. - Steyermark knew this plant only from the St. Louis railyards. Since that time it has expanded its range in Missouri to include a number of counties, predominantly in the southwestern quadrant of the state. It is generally uncommon in the continental U.S., reported from widely scattered counties in a few eastern-central states. Its appearance is similar to the much more common black nightshade (S. ptychanthum), except that the foliage is glandular-hairy and somewhat sticky or clammy to the touch. The combination of the viscid foliage along with the small white flowers with fused anther columns is diagnostic for this species in Missouri.

Although toxicity information on this plant is not readily available, it belongs to a family known to contain numerous toxic compounds. The plant was apparently responsible for the poisoning deaths of two lemurs in a California zoo. Appropriate caution should be exercised.

Photographs taken along a roadside west of Duck Creek Conservation Area, Wayne County, MO, 10-12-2021 (SRTurner).