*Nicandra physalodes (L.) Gaertner, De Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 237 (1791)
Atropa physalodes L., Sp. Pl. 1: 181 (1753).
T: `Habitat in Peru. D.B.Jussieu'; lecto: Herb. Linn. n. 246.3 (LINN) fide E. SchÓnbeck-Temesy, Fl. Iranica 100: 2 (1972).
See the Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project pages for further details.
Annual herb to c. 2 m.
Leaves variable; lamina narrowly to broadly ovate, 2–30 cm long; petiole to 9 cm long.
Pedicels 6–24 mm long. Calyx 7–22 mm long; margins of the lobes appressed to form longitudinal wings. Corolla-lobes 12–30 mm long, obtuse or slightly notched. Staminal filaments 3–3.5 mm long, densely pubescent at base.
Berry globular, 11–22 mm diam. occasionally smaller, pale yellow; fruiting calyx papery with prominent, reticulate veins. Seeds 1.2–2.1 mm long, brown.
Distribution and ecology
Native to Peru, introduced in Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas., S.A. and W.A., mainly as a summer weed in coastal and near-coastal areas.
An important weed of maize crops in northern Qld.
Apple of Peru
W.A.: Busselton, Feb. 1969, S. Wilkes (PERTH). S.A.: Bethel, 6 Apr. 1970, B. Frost (AD). Qld: Brisbane, 3 June 1926, C.T. White (BRI). N.S.W.: near Penrith, L. Haegi 1606 (NSW). Vic.: Neerim, 29 Feb. 1912, H.S. Wheeler (MEL).
Derivation of epithet
From physalodes - a reference to the fruits of this species with their inflated bladder-like calyces as in Physalis species.
Images and information on web
An excellent series of images of the leaves, fruits and flower can be seen on the Weeds of Mexico site and on the Plants of Hawaii site at www.hear.org/starr/plants/images/species/?q=nicandra+physalodes
S. physalodes as a weed in the Pacific is treated on the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) site.
Further information about the toxic properties of this plant can be found with a search in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database
In searching for information on the web be aware that the species epithet is sometimes written as "physaloides"