Thursday, December 20, 2012

Physalis crassifolia Benth.

Yellow Nightshade Ground Cherry

One our desert Nightshades, Physalis crassifolia is a relative of our domestic Tomatillo, and in fact, closely resembles it in fruit. However, unlike our domestic crop, this plant is poisonous, and is listed as a majorly toxic species by California Poison Control System.

P. crassifolia is a perennial herb that can become a sub-shrub under the right conditions. Flowering in mid spring to early summer, the flowers are typically Solanacious, forming a fused floral tube that is bright yellow in color. In fruit, the calyx forms a protective layer around the developing berry. The plants themselves are not large in size, being fairly low growing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rubus leucodermis Douglas ex Torr. & A. Gray

Whitebark Raspberry

One of our native Rubus species, Rubus leucodermis is a low growing, mounding plant with a typical raspberry / blackberry habit. Like most members of Rubus, these plants are armed with sharp, recurved prickles along their stems and on the underside of their leaves. These plants are found throughout the California flouristic provence with the exception of the Great Valley, and extend all the way up along the west coast into Alaska. Their preferred habitat is open, rocky areas with good moisture.

Like most members of Rubus, R. leucodermis has an edible compound fruit. Fruits tend to be red-purple to black in color.