nightshade family

Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti) or San Diego Nightshade is a semi-evergreen perennial vine, originally native to California, it can now be found in most of North America. It grows in shrublands, oak/pine woodlands, as well as deciduous and coniferous forests, to elevation, in sandy, rocky or clay soils. It is found in areas that receive 10-20" of rainfall annually and prefers partial sun. It ranges from two to four feet in height, and two to four feet in width. Purple Nightshade has been observed 'climbing' higher on fences, shrubs and saplings, sometimes 'choking' or blocking sunlight thereby killing off the host plant.

Purple Nightshade flowers are a blue purple and approximately an inch wide, and foliage is dark green. It blooms in spring to early summer. The plant is poisonous to humans. Due to Purple Nightshade's poisonous nature, tomatoes (also a member of the Nightshade family) were thought to be as equally toxic by many North Americans as late as the early eighteenth century.


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