Solanum tampicense Dunal

Family: Solanaceae

Common names:  wetland nightshade, aquatic soda apple
Disseminule:  Seed

Description

Fruit a berry with 10–60 seeds. Seeds ovate to C- or D-shaped in outline, variously bent or twisted from crowding, usually with a prominent V-shaped notch; 2–2.5 mm long, 1.5–2.2 mm wide, 0.3–0.7 mm thick, compressed, discoid, cross section linear, straight or bent. Testa +/– light yellow, glistening and reticulate overall, or only on border with central area dull and depressed. Reticulations thick walled, +/– wavy, with deep interspaces. Hilum marginal, pointing straight out from notch, a closed linear slit, sometimes partly or fully open, 0.6–1 mm long. Embryo linear-curved, seen twice in cross section; endosperm readily visible.

Identification considerations

Solanaceae seeds of moderate size (over 1.5 mm long) are often difficult to distinguish from one another. Characters that may aid in identification are size range, seed outline, surface reticulation (if visible), hilar shape, and embryo shape. Testa color is not a reliable character, as it may be affected by aging and length of time spent in a mature berry.

Compare with:

Lycium ferocissimum Miers

Solanum torvum Sw.

Solanum viarum Dunal

Distribution

Mexico, Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua), Cuba, United States.

Habitat

Relatively undisturbed tropical wetlands, cypress swamps, river and stream margins, river drainages; does not tolerate continuous flooding.

General information

Solanum tampicense is a vinelike, sprawling, prickly shrub with stems up to 5 m long. It may have been accidentally introduced to Florida fairly recently, where it disrupts natural wetland habitats. It grows as impenetrable thickets and can form large stands of many acres. Solanum tampicense can regenerate from stem sections, and its seeds can tolerate freezing and drying.

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