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horse nettle, silver-leaf nightshade, white horse-nettle

Habit Herbs or shrubs, perennial, erect, rhizomatous, sparsely to densely armed, to 1 m, prickles orange to brown, straight, to 5 mm, densely silvery-pubescent, hairs sessile or subsessile, stellate, scalelike, 10–15-rayed, central ray shorter than lateral rays, lateral rays fused at center.


petiole 1–5 cm;

blade simple, lanceolate to oblong, 5–15 × 0.5–3 cm, margins undulate, subentire to sinuate or shallowly lobed, lobe margins entire, base truncate to cuneate.


extra-axillary, unbranched, 3–5(–7)-flowered, 3–5 cm.


1–3 cm in flower, reflexed and 1–3 cm in fruit.


radially symmetric;

calyx not accrescent, unarmed or with sparse prickles, 5–10 mm, densely silvery-stellate-pubescent, lobes linear-lanceolate;

corolla pale to deep blue or violet, rarely white, pentagonal-stellate, 2–3(–3.5) cm diam., with abundant interpetalar tissue;

stamens equal;

anthers narrow and tapered, 6–9 mm, dehiscent by terminal pores;

ovary glabrous to densely stellate-pubescent.


yellow to orange, drying brown or black, globose, 0.5–1.5 cm diam., glabrous, without sclerotic granules.


yellowish, flattened, 3–5 × 2–4 mm, minutely pitted.


= 24, 48, 72.

Solanum elaeagnifolium

Phenology Flowering Mar–Nov.
Habitat Dry sites, open woods, dis­turbed areas, roadsides, railroads, fields.
Elevation 0–2100 m. (0–6900 ft.)
from FNA
AL; AR; AZ; CA; CO; FL; GA; ID; IL; IN; KS; KY; LA; MD; MO; MS; NC; NE; NM; NV; OK; OR; SC; TN; TX; UT; WA; Mexico; West Indies; South America (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay) [Introduced elsewhere in South America (Colombia, Peru), Eurasia (Mediterranean, Middle East, India, Pakistan), Africa, Australia]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

Solanum elaeagnifolium has a disjunct native distribution. It occurs in arid regions of the southwestern United States and Mexico and also in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. North American plants are diploid, whereas those in Argentina are diploid, tetraploid, or hexaploid. It is invasive and considered a noxious weed in 21 states in the flora area as well as in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. It is toxic to livestock and can form large, rhizomatous patches that are difficult to eradicate.

A white-flowered form has been recognized as Solanum elaeagnifolium forma albiflorum Cockerell.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 14.
Parent taxa Solanaceae > Solanum
Sibling taxa
S. americanum, S. aviculare, S. bahamense, S. campechiense, S. capsicoides, S. carolinense, S. chenopodioides, S. citrullifolium, S. cordicitum, S. davisense, S. deflexum, S. dimidiatum, S. diphyllum, S. donianum, S. douglasii, S. dulcamara, S. emulans, S. erianthum, S. furcatum, S. hindsianum, S. interius, S. jamaicense, S. jamesii, S. laciniatum, S. lanceolatum, S. lumholtzianum, S. lycopersicum, S. marginatum, S. mauritianum, S. nigrescens, S. nigrum, S. nitidibaccatum, S. novomexicanum, S. perplexum, S. pseudocapsicum, S. pseudogracile, S. pumilum, S. rostratum, S. sarrachoides, S. seaforthianum, S. setigeroides, S. sisymbriifolium, S. stoloniferum, S. tampicense, S. tenuipes, S. torvum, S. triflorum, S. triquetrum, S. umbelliferum, S. viarum, S. wallacei
Name authority Cavanilles: Icon. 3: 22, plate 243. (1795)
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