New Mexico Wildflowers: Potato (or Nightshade) Family

(Solanaceae)

 

Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.


Chinese Thorn-Apple (Datura quercifolia)

Despite this plant's name, it's a native species. The leaves are supposedly somewhat shaped like oak leaves. I don't know about that, but the leaves are definitely different from the locally more common sacred datura. The flowers have an obvious purple tinge but as one of my sacred datura pictures shows, that isn't definitive. Instead, use purple-tinged flowers in combination with the dissected leaves to make your ID.

 

Sacred Datura, Thorn-Apple (Datura wrightii)

The flowers of this species of Datura are stunningly white. But as one of my photos show, the flowers rarely have a purplish tinge at the edges. Supposedly this is due to insufficient water. If you see an all-purple Datura, that's a different species.

 

Frutilla, Pale Wolfberry (Lycium pallidum)

The branches of this wolfberry have any small thorns, which you may not notice until you grasp them. Later in the year, look for reddish berries.

 

Torrey Wolfberry (Lycium torreyi)

 

Silverleaf Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium)

Silverleaf Nightshade is a common New Mexico weed, both in Albuquerque and in rural areas. It's poisonous to livestock (and humans). Once the purple and yellow flowers die away, the plants produce round seed pods that turn yellow and can last into the next year.

 

Buffalobur Nightshade (Solanum rostratum)