Silverleaf Nightshade
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Silverleaf Nightshade
aturalized Photo: Ravishankar M
Common name: Silverleaf Nightshade, Prairie Berry, Silverleaf Nettle, White Horsenettle
Botanical name: Solanum elaeagnifolium    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Solanum flavidum, Solanum obtusifolium

Silverleaf Nightshade gets its name from the silvery hairs that cover the plant, along with the nettle-like prickles. It grows 1-3 feet tall. The leaves are 2-4 inches long, with wavy edges. Flowers are violet-purple or white, about 2 cm across, with 5 petal-like lobes that are joined at the base, forming a triangular shape at the tip of each lobe. All of them have the prominent, bright yellow stamens that distinguish all the horse nettles. The yellow fruits resemble small tomatoes and remain on the plant for months. They are said to be poisonous. The lavender, star-shaped flowers with yellow centers look attractive in the silvery foliage. But the plant is an aggressive, poisonous weed, spreading steadily from deep rootstocks; in a few states it is classified as a noxious weed. Silverleaf Nightshade is native to the American continent, but is now naturalized in large parts of the world including India.

Identification credit: Ravishankar M Photographed in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu.

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