WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

A dense mat of silvery-gray hairs covers the narrow, wavy leaves and stems of this 1–3-foot tall, branching plant, plus a scattering of needlelike prickles. Note the showy blue, star-like flowers. All parts, especially the ripe yellow berries, are extremely toxic. Just a few berries can be fatal.


FLOWER: April–September. The 1-inch wide (25 mm), blue to purple (rarely white) flowers have 5 petals fused into a star-like disk. Showy yellow, finger-like stamens are all alike and add contrast to the center. Clusters of 3/4-inch (20 mm), smooth, round berries mature from green to yellow and are toxic.


LEAVES: Alternate. Blades narrow, lance-shaped to oblong, 1 1/2–6-inches long (3.8–15 cm) with entire to wavy margins; midrib has slender yellow spines reaching 3/16-inch long (5 mm).


HABITAT: Dry rocky, sandy soils of fields, pastures, roadsides, disturbed areas; desert grasslands and scrub, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,200–7,500 feet.


RANGE: AR, AZ, CA, CO, ID, OK, KA, LA, NM, NV, UT, TX.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Numerous Nightshades have blue flowers, but none have lance-shaped leaves covered with silvery hairs. Wild Potato, S. stoloniferum, in so. NM mountains, has pinnately compound leaves with 5–7 oval leaflets with short hairs but no prickles.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread statewide (not reported in Colfax, Taos cos.) in low- to mid-elevation arid habitats.

SILVERLEAF  NIGHTSHADE

SOLANUM  ELAEAGNIFOLIUM

Nightshade Family, Solanaceae

Perennial herb

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Prickles are usually present on stems and leaves.

Leaf edges vary from wavy-lobed to  entire, with or without prickles.

Fruit ripen from green to yellow and are extremely toxic.

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