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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sticky Nightshade - the Solanum susymbriifolium, an invasive species in Jharkhand

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Solanum susymbriifolium is commonly known as Sticky Nightshade.It belongs to family Solanaceae, the Potato family.It is variouslyknown as Bitter apple, Dense thorned bitter apple, Wild tomato etc. In Bengali it is known as Swetrangani, and Sada kantikari.

Its leaves are pinnately cut into lobes and are upto 30cm long.The whole body of plant including fruits havs thorns. Even the sepals are armed with yellow prickles.

Flowers are starlike. These are purplish or white in colour, 1.6 to 3.5 cm across, with oval petals, that are 1cm long, 4to 8 mm wide. Filaments are prominent, about 1mm, having yellow lance-shaped anthers.Anthers are about 9cm long and yellow.Fruit is a berry.

 It is native to South America but naturalized in parts of asia including India.In Jharkhand state of India it is registering its appearance as an invasive species. It can be seen growing extensively in waste lands, along road sides, and also in crop fields. Its population in the state is increasing year after year. It has virtually replaced the native thorny species with violet flowers known as Solanum virginianum which has become rare inmost parts of India probably due to reclamation of wastelands and habitat destruction. Here are some images of the species sisymbriifolium. 

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Key Words : Solanaceae, Solanum virginianum, Jharkhand, invasive species, habitat destruction

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