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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 14 | Solanaceae | Solanum

3. Solanum bahamense Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 188. 1753.

Bahama or Rugel’s nightshade, cankerberry

Solanum bahamense var. luxurians D’Arcy; S. bahamense var. rugelii D’Arcy; S. racemosum Jacquin

Shrubs or small trees, erect, sparsely to densely armed (at least when young), to 4 m, prickles yellow or orange, straight, to 10 mm, sparsely to densely pubescent, hairs sessile, stellate, 6–8-rayed, central ray usually shorter than lateral rays, sometimes absent, occasionally as long as or longer than lateral rays. Leaves petiolate; petiole 0.1–2.7 cm; blade simple, narrowly elliptic, 2–21 × 0.5–5.5 cm, margins entire or shallowly lobed, base attenuate to rounded. Inflorescences extra-axillary or leaf-opposed, usually unbranched, 30+-flowered, to 15 cm. Pedicels 0.8–1.5 cm in flower, 1–2 cm and recurved to one side of the inflorescence in fruit. Flowers radially symmetric; calyx not accrescent, unarmed, 1.5–2.5 mm, moderately stellate-pubescent, lobes triangular; corolla white or violet, stellate, 1.5–2 cm diam., without interpetalar tissue; stamens equal; anthers narrow and tapered, 5.5–8 mm, dehiscent by terminal pores, anther tube densely stellate-pubescent within; ovary glabrous or sparsely pubescent with short-glandular hairs. Berries bright shiny red, globose, 0.5–0.7 cm diam., glabrous, without sclerotic granules. Seeds pale tan, flattened, 2–2.5 × 1–1.5 mm, minutely pitted. 2n = 24.

Flowering year-round. Coastal forests, forest and beach margins, dunes, often on coral or calcareous soils; 0–100 m; Fla.; West Indies.

Solanum bahamense is morphologically variable, especially in leaf shape, hair morphology, prickle density, and corolla color. Using morphological and molecular data, R. Strickland-Constable et al. (2010) established that several formerly recognized taxa are encompassed within its range of variability and should be considered as synonyms of S. bahamense. It is unique among the North American spiny solanums in having stellate hairs on the inner (adaxial) surface of the anthers. Solanum bahamense occurs in southern Florida and the Keys and throughout the Caribbean.

SELECTED REFERENCE Strickland-Constable, R. et al. 2010. Species identity in the Solanum bahamense species group (Solanaceae, Solanum subgenus Leptostemonum). Taxon 59: 209–226.


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