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Plant Identification: SOLVED: North Texas wild pepper-like plant with purple flowers

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Forum: Plant IdentificationReplies: 8, Views: 94
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jimmybean
Grand Prairie, TX

June 25, 2011
1:16 PM

Post #8654033

I found this plant in the wild grassland of North Texas. It has small thorns, purple flowers and little fruits. The seeds of the fruits have a slighty hot taste to them. Dried they smell like dried tomatoes. The seeds inside are bunched together around the stem like a bell pepper. The black discolored ones on the right side of the picture were infested with a single fruit fly larva in each fruit. They were all quite dry except the ones infested with the fruit fly larva. Those were completely full of black wet larva excrement (future fertilizer for when the fruit drops?) and the seeds were not eaten by the larva. If the seeds of the larva infested fruits are still viable, it could be considered a symbiotic relationship as opposed to a parasitic one. I noticed that the little fruits with only a few seeds had a little larva in them and the big fruits with lots of seeds had a big larva in them. This probably means that the egg is laid early in the fruit's life and that the plant is able to keep the fruit alive and growing, thus feeding the larva too.

Thumbnail by jimmybean
Click the image for an enlarged view.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 25, 2011
2:54 PM

Post #8654139

could be one of the ground cherries.. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/289339/
or the nightshades... http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/54503/
i've seen that particular fruit before don't remember offhand which it is. btw, these are all pretty deadly poison so it's a good idea never to sample things unless you are 100% sure of what it is.

This message was edited Jun 25, 2011 9:20 PM
jimmybean
Grand Prairie, TX

June 25, 2011
3:30 PM

Post #8654193

[quote="trackinsand"]could be one of the ground cherries...http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/289339/
or the nightshades...http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/54503/
i've seen that particular fruit before don't remember offhand which it is. btw, these are all pretty deadly poison so it's a good idea never to sample things unless you are 100% sure of what it is.[/quote]

The stripes you see on the fruits are actually on there like a watermelon. It's not a leaf like on the ground cherry. Mine are green with purple flowers, the nightshades are black with white flowers. Neither the ground cherry nor the nightshade have thorns, mine does.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 25, 2011
4:14 PM

Post #8654277

There are a lot of nightshade species--most have green leaves and there are quite a few with purple flowers. Some of them also have thorns. Can you post some pictures of the actual plants?
jimmybean
Grand Prairie, TX

June 25, 2011
4:27 PM

Post #8654301

[quote="ecrane3"]There are a lot of nightshade species--most have green leaves and there are quite a few with purple flowers. Some of them also have thorns. Can you post some pictures of the actual plants?[/quote]

I would have to wait until monday as I don't have the plant here.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 25, 2011
4:46 PM

Post #8654340

yes, i didn't mean it was either of the particular plants that i linked you to, just giving you a place to start. as ecrane said, there are many species within each genus...but i still wouldn't eat them.
BrandonSivek
Baytown, TX
(Zone 9a)

June 25, 2011
5:00 PM

Post #8654366

I believe these are from Solanum carolinense L., or "Carolina Horsenettle. Here is a link to some pictures of the fruit you show in the picture you produced. There are also pictures on there of the plant and its flower. Hope this helps.

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SOCA3&photoID=soca3_007_ahp.jpg
jimmybean
Grand Prairie, TX

June 25, 2011
5:02 PM

Post #8654373

yes it's related to that plant, but it is actually Solanum elaeagnifolium, thanks for your help.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 25, 2011
6:19 PM

Post #8654521

glad you solved this. it's a nice looking plant actually! http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/31750/

just realized that i didn't leave a space for the links in my original post. you couldn't have seen them if you wanted to! lol i fixed it, but too late now.

This message was edited Jun 25, 2011 9:21 PM

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