PLANT: Perennial herbs, rhizomatous, without tubers, to 1 m tall, armed with prickles to 7 mm long, the surface covered with sessile stellate hairs throughout. LEAVES: alternate, simple, ovate, to 12 cm long and 8 cm wide; margin with 2-4 lobes on each side; blade subcoriaceous, the lower surface densely covered with stellate hairs, with prickles along the main veins; petiole to 3 cm long; base cuneate to truncate; apex acute. INFLORESCENCE: panicles, 4-10-flowered; peduncles to 5 cm long. FLOWERS: zygomorphic (Fig. 3H); pedicels 7-15 mm long; calyx to 1 cm long, the lobes 1-2 times longer than the tube, equal, narrowly deltoid, acuminate; corolla campanulate, purple in ours, to 3 cm in diam., with stellate hairs along the midveins of the outer surfaces of the corolla lobes; stamens equal, to 12 mm long, the anthers 5 times as long as the filaments, not adherent; style exceeding the anthers by 2-10 mm; stigma subcapitate, to 1 mm wide. FRUITS: to 2 cm in diam., not invested in the calyx, green with pale green to greenish grey markings when immature, yellow when mature, pendant; seeds lenticular, reddish brown, shiny, minutely pitted. NOTES: Known from only one site in Arizona along Queen Creek (W.S. Radcliff s.n., ASU): Maricopa Co. (Fig. 1C); ca. 500 m (1500 ft); May; throughout the U.S.; e Can. REFERENCES: Chiang, F. and L.R. Landrum. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Solanaceae Part Three: Lycium. CANOTIA 5 (1): 17-26, 2009.
Coarse, erect, branching, rhizomatous perennial to 1 m, spiny and loosely stellate-hairy; lvs ovate in outline, 7-12 cm, half as wide, with 2-5 large teeth or shallow lobes on each side, ±spiny along the main veins, stellate-hairy on both sides, the hairs sessile with 4-8 branches, the central branch often elongate; infl several-fld, elongating at maturity and forming a simple racemiform cluster; cor pale violet to white, 2 cm wide; anthers equal; fr deadly poisonous, yellow, 1-1.5 cm, subtended but not enclosed by the mostly unarmed cal; 2n=24. Fields and waste places, especially in sandy soil, originally native to se. U.S., n. to Va. and Ky., now established as a weed n. to Vt., Ont., Mich., Minn., and westward. S. dimidiatum Raf., of Kans. to Ark. and Tex., occurs in Mo. apparently as an introduction. It has the stellate hairs of the lower lf-surface distinctly stipitate, with 9-13 subequal branches, and the infl is commonly branched from the top of the peduncle, forming 2 or 3 raceme-like clusters. (S. torreyi)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.