YASIN J. NASIR
Physalis somnifera L.
A suffruticose shrub, 60-90 cm tall. Branches ascending. Shoots stellate-tomentose. Leaves 4-13 x 2-9 cm, elliptic-ovate to broadly ovate, acute, cuneate or oblique, entire to repand. Petiole 10-20 mm long. Flowers sessile to subsessile, greenish-yellow, in axillary clusters of 2-5.Calyx 2-2.5 x 2.5-3 mm, up to 2.0 x 14 mm in fruit, stellately hairy, becoming glabrescent and membranous; teeth 1-1.5 mm long, up to 8 mm in fruit, acute. Corolla lobes 2-2.5 mm long, triangular, tomentose to the outside. Anthers subincluded; filaments 1-2.5 mm long. Berry globose, 6-8 mm broad, red. Seeds sub pyriform to reniform, minutely reticulate-foveolate, yellowish-brown.
Fl. Per.: Mostly throughout the year.
Type: Described from Mexico, Crete and Spain.
Distribution: Canary Islands, Mediterranean, Africa, Iraq, S. Iran, Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Arabia, Pakistan and India.
Common throughout in waste places up to 2300 m. The plant parts have alkaloids with sedative properties. The root is used in rheumatism and debility. The leaves are used in fevers; a concoction with roots is useful for ulcers, boils etc. The fruit is diuretic. The poisonous seeds have a mild coagulating effect on milk.
The species is variable as to the texture and the pubescence of leaves.