Monday, May 10, 2010

Yellow Nightshade Groundcherry

Yellow nightshade groundcherry,
also known as thick-leaved groundcherry 
and ground cherry (Physalis crassifolia) is a member of the nightshade family.
It has a ridged, angular, branching stem and can have a clumped, matted or erect form. The oval leaves can have smooth, wavy or bluntly toothed edges.
The flowers are yellow
and widely bell-shaped
and vaguely five-lobed
and are open from March to May. The star-shaped sepals at the base of the flower
enlarge as the fruit develops, becoming an inflated, angled, lantern-like structure which contains the berry.
The Jepson Flora Project of the University of California states that some species of ground cherry have unripe fruit that can be toxic and further study is needed in the western United States. It can be found in the peninsular ranges, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and in the deserts of southeastern California.
It can also be found in Nevada, Arizona and northern Mexico. These particular plants were photographed on the bajada south of the Eagle Mountains off the Hayfield Road exit of 1-10.

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