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Title: Growth development and morphological differences among native and non-native prickly nightshades (Solanum spp.) of the Southeastern United States

item Bryson, Charles
item Reddy, Krishna
item BYRD, JOHN - Mississippi State University

Submitted to: Invasive Plant Science and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2012
Publication Date: 9/7/2012
Citation: Bryson, C.T., Reddy, K.N., Byrd, J.D. 2012. Growth development and morphological differences among native and non-native prickly nightshades (Solanum spp.) of the Southeastern United States. Journal of Invasive Plant Science and Management. 5:341-352.

Interpretive Summary: Many prickly nightshade species are troublesome weeds of natural habitats, feed lots, pastures, croplands, and right-of-ways in the southeastern US. Morphological traits of native and non-native prickly nightshades were compared and charts were developed to distinguish species using vegetative and reproductive characteristics. In greenhouse experiments, basic biological data determined that germination and growth rate, plant height, number of leaves and nodes, plant biomass, and time to flowering varied among 11 of the most troublesome weedy species of prickly nightshade. These biological and morphological data will be used to determine the most vulnerable stage for effective control strategies and methods of prickly nightshades.

Technical Abstract: Prickly nightshades are troublesome weeds of natural habitats pastures, feed lots, right-of-ways, and croplands. Native and non-native invasive weedy species of prickly nightshades were compared to determine growth, development, and morphological differences. Tables were developed from new and existing data to differentiate vegetative and reproductive characteristics among 18 species of prickly nightshade found in the southeastern US. In greenhouse experiments, average prickly nightshade plant height ranged 24 and 26 cm for horsenettle and Jamaican nightshade, respectively, to 100 and 105 cm for wetland nightshade and sticky nightshade, respectively at 10 weeks after emergence (WAE). By 10 WAE, the average number of leaves per plant ranged from < 10 for horsenettle and turkeyberry to > 40 leaves per plant for buffalobur and western nightshade. Average number of nodes per plant main stem ranged from 11, 12, and 14 nodes in Jamaican nightshade, turkeyberry, and horsenettle, respectively, to 54 nodes in buffalobur. Average plant dry weights were greatest for buffalobur, nipplefruit nightshade, and red soda apple (>17 g/plant) and least for horsenettle (1 g/plant). Based on these data, nightshade growth rate and dry weight were variable among some species and variability may be a result of phenology and life cycles, annual or perennial. Buffalobur, an annual, plants were tallest and produced highest numbers of nodes and leaves and had the shortest period from emergence to flower among the prickly nightshades evaluated by 10 WAE.