WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Leafy plants reach 6 inches tall with hairy foliage, but no spiny prickles. Note the clusters of star-shaped, blue flowers and pinnately compound leaves with oval to elliptic leaflets. The 1/2-inch long, roundish tubers 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.


FLOWER: July–October. Flowers star-shaped, 3/4–1 1/4 inches diameter (1.8–3.3 cm), with 5 blue to purple to white petals united from the base halfway to the tip. Fruit is a round white to deep green berry, sometimes with green stripes, about 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) in diameter. All Solanum fruit are reported to be toxic.


LEAVES: Alternate. Blade pinnately compound with 5–7 leaflets, each oval to elliptic, 1–2 1/2 inches long (2.5–6.5 cm), terminal leaflet largest; tips pointed to tapering, surfaces hairy, small leaves often between the larger leaflets.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly soils, open woodlands; pine-fir, spruce forests.

ELEVATION: 6,500–10,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, NM, UT, TX, OK; all states west of the Mississippi River.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Another Wild Potato, S. jamesii, in much the same range, has white flowers.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread in NM except se plains in mid- to high-elevation habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union.

WILD  POTATO

SOLANUM  STOLONIFERUM  (Solanum  fendleri)

Nightshade Family, Solanaceae

Perennial herb

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• The terminal leaflet is largest (left arrow)

• Small leaflets often grow between the large leaflets (right arrow).

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