Solanum douglasii Dunal

White Nightshade
Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)

White nightshade is a somewhat woody, much-branched, minutely woolly perennial shrub that grows from 3' to 6' tall with puberulent herbage and angled stems.  The leaves are from 1" to 4" long, alternate, somewhat sinuate, ovate, entire-margined to coarsely and irregularly toothed and on petioles up to 1" long. The flowers are ± in umbels on elongated stems.  The calyces are deeply 5-cleft with lance-oblong lobes, and the corollas are white with a greenish basal splotch, also 5-lobed, fairly small (to 1/2" across).  There are five short stamens with prominent, yellow, forward-facing anthers that form a conical ring around the style which protrudes beyond the stamens. The fruit is a green to black poisonous berry about 1/4" to 3/8" in diameter.  White nightshade is a very common plant of the chaparral, but may be found as well in the coastal sage scrub and southern oak woodlands, generally preferring shady places.  It blooms throughout most of the year.  Another similar species that may be found in the same area is the introduced annual to subshrub Solanum americanum or little white nightshade, which is a shorter plant with smaller corollas, shorter anthers and a less wide berry.  These pictures were taken in Monrovia Canyon.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Solanum 2) douglasii.
Pronunciation: so-LAY-num DUG-las-ee-eye.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.

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