WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

This erect to bushy plant has leafy stems 4–12-inches tall, with or without hairs but no spines. Note the white, star-shaped flowers and pinnate leaves with leaflets along the midrib. The roundish, 1/2-inch diameter tubers, which have twice the protein as the cultivated potato, were an important food source for Native Americans as long as 9,000 years ago. Be certain of identification when harvesting all wild flowers. The Solanaceae family, which includes peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes, also includes many deadly poisonous species.


FLOWERS: July–September. Loose clusters of white flowers, each  1/2–1-inch wide (12–25 mm) with 5 petals with triangular to lance-shaped lobes and fringed edges, often bent back against the stem. Yellow stamens protrude with the style much longer. Fruit are round, green berries 3/8-inch diameter (1 cm). All Solanum fruit are reported to be toxic.


LEAVES: Alternate. Pinnately compound, 5–9 leaflets paired along midrib, leaflets lance-shaped to oblong, 1–2-inches long (2.5–5 cm), lower surface with short, glandular hairs, margins entire.


HABITAT: Moist sandy, rocky soils, roadsides, disturbed areas; grasslands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, ponderosa-Douglas fir forests.


ELEVATION: 4,700–8,500 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Another Wild Potato, S. stoloniferum, in so. NM mountains, has blue flowers and pinnately compound leaves with 5–7 oval to pointed (not lance-shaped) leaflets with short hairs but no prickles.  Cutleaf Nigthshade, S. triflorum, nearly statewide in similar habitats, has white flowers and leaves with pointed lobes (not leaflets) along the midrib.


NM COUNTIES: Statewide in mid-elevation moist habitats (absent on eastern plains): Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Dona Ana, Eddy Grant, Hidalgo,  Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Valencia.

WILD  POTATO

SOLANUM  JAMESII

Nightshade Family, Solanaceae

Perennial herb

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