An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

SMALL GROUNDCHERRY

Illustration

POTATO FAMILY-Solanaceae

SMALL GROUNDCHERRY-Chamaesaracha coronopus (Dunal) Gray

DESCRIPTION-Low spreading perennial which reproduces by seeds and by slender rhizomes. The plants are covered by whitish branlike flakes, which actually are flattened, branched hairs. The weak stems branching from the base are erect at first, but soon spread and recline on the ground, 1/2 to 1 1/2 feet long. The alternate leaves, 1 to 4 inches long and 1/12 to 3/8 inch broad, are short stalked or stalkless. They are narrowly lanceshaped with nearly smooth margins, or more often are shallowly and irregularly lobed.

The 5-lobed flowers are greenish white or tinged with purple, wheelshaped, and 1/3 to l/2 inch across. They occur singly in the leaf axils all over the plant, not just on the upper part, and are on slender stalks, which curve downward in fruit. The calyx is 5-lobed and persistent, enlarging and becoming globeshaped, but only covering about 2/3 of the mature seedpod.

The yellow berrylike seedpods, with the surrounding greenish calyx, are about 1/4 inch in diameter, and hang downward. The kidneyshaped seeds, slightly more than 1/12 inch in diameter, are dark brown or reddish brown; the surface is honeycombed, roughened, and glistening.

DISTRIBUTION-Small groundcherry is a native weed, growing on dry or damp disturbed soil, in cultivated farm lands, fields, edges of walks or lawns, yards, and roadsides. Also found on mesas, bottoms, and especially on eroded or overgrazed plains on northern desert and pinyon-juniper ranges. Widespread throughout most of Arizona, but especially in the northern and central parts, where it is abundant in many areas; 2,500 to 7,500 feet elevation; flowering April to September. The Navajo and Hopi Indians are reported to eat the seedpods.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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