PLANT: Annual or short-lived perennial herbs, sometimes turning woody with age, usually greater than 1 m tall, without tubers or stolons, unarmed; herbage glabrous to pubescent to variously strigose; stems terete to angled, sometimes with small, antrorsely curved teeth on the angles. LEAVES: alternate or sub-opposite, simple, ovate to lance-elliptic, 2-9 cm long, 1-5 cm wide; margin entire to coarsely-toothed; base sub-truncate to attenuate; apex broadly acute to acuminate; petiole (1-)2-6(-8) cm long. INFLORESCENCE: umbel-like racemes, lateral, borne between nodes or sometimes at nodes opposite leaves, (1-)3-8(-12)-flowered; peduncle 8-30 mm long. FLOWERS: actinomorphic (Fig. 3A); pedicel 2-12 mm long; calyx 0.5-2 mm long, the lobes broadly lanceolate to rounded, about equal to or 1/2 as long as the tube; corolla rotate-stellate to reflexed, white or white tinged with purple, 2-6 mm in diameter; style included to 1 mm longer than anthers, pubescent ± half its length; stamens ± equal, (0.5-)1-1.5(-2) mm long; anthers connivent; filaments 1/2 or less as long as anthers, 1 mm long or less. FRUITS: subglobose, 4-8 mm wide, green, orange-brown or blackish at maturity, not enclosed in the calyx; sclerotic granules 0-5; seeds orbicular, minutely pitted, 1-1.3 mm wide. NOTES: Agricultural areas, waste places and riparian areas: La Paz, Maricopa Mohave, Pima, Yavapai cos. (Fig. 1B); 50-1800 m (200-6000 ft); throughout the year; s. and w. U.S.; Mex; probably native to Eurasia. REFERENCES: Chiang, F. and L.R. Landrum. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Solanaceae Part Three: Lycium. CANOTIA 5 (1): 17-26, 2009.
Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Annual with slender stems, widely branched to 1 m tall, herbage glabrous or nearly so. Leaves: Slender petioles, blades 2-10 cm long, oval to ovate, pale green and membranaceous, translucent, with margins entire to sinuate-dentate. Flowers: Pedicels becoming reflexed; calyx lobes 1-2 mm long, unequal, spreading; corolla white or tinged with purple, lobes 4-7 mm long, anthers all alike. Fruits: Berry lustrous black, 5-9 mm in diameter. Ecology: Found on disturbed soils from 4,000-5,500 ft (1219-1676 m); flowers June-September. Distribution: w CAN south to CA and NV, east to GA; south to S. Amer.; throughout the world on every continent. Notes: Distinguished by its annual, herbaceous life form to a meter tall, often dark green, broad lance-elliptic leaves, white Solanaceous corollas with yellow anthers and dark blue mature berries. Similar to S. douglasii but tends to have smaller flowers (>3mm long in douglasii) and shorter anthers ( >2 mm long in douglasii). In the southwest, these two species are a part of the cosmopolitan -S. nigrum complex-, a group of over 30 species with continuous variation, hybridization, polyploidy and many evolutionary intermediates, often making for difficult classification. Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in the genera have uses. Etymology: Solanum is Latin for quieting, reference to the narcotic properties of some species, while americanum means of America. Synonyms: Solanum americanum var. nodiflorum, S. americanum var. patulum, S. caribaeum, S. fistulosum, S. hermannii, S. linnaeanum, S. nigrum var. americanum, S. nigrum var. virginicum, S. nodiflorum, S. sodomemum Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015