Solanum heterodoxum

Melon Leaf Nightshade - Solanum heterodoxum
Carbonate Creek, Black Range
New Mexico, USA
Immediately above and below.
July 2015

Oh, those nightshades.  There are about 2,000 species in the Solanum genus, including all of those wonderful potatoes and tomatoes.  In late July of 2015, I photographed this Melon Leaf Nightshade, Solanum heterodoxum, at San Lorenzo.  There are three subspecies of this Nightshade, all are present in New Mexico, and I have not been able to determine which this particular plant is - although it appears to be S. h. var. setigeroides (Whalen).   

The range of this species is limited, the dark green means that the species is both native and present in the state.  Its range extends south into Mexico (Veracruz).  It is, however, generally absent from the Chihuahuan Desert.

This species was first described by Michel Felix Dunal in 1813, who was the world’s expert on the Solanum genus at that time.  It is not generally known by a different common name (other than “Melonleaf” is sometimes combined) and there are only two scientific synonyms; Androcera heterodoxa and Nycterium heterodoxum.  Dunal was the first describer of 1215 species.

The type specimen for S. h. var. setigeroides, shown below, was collected in Grant County, New Mexico (12 miles west of Silver City, near US-180).  Michael Dennis Whalen (1950 - 1985) lived a short life, he collected and described two species of note, the one shown below and the species Solanum davisense.


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San Lorenzo New Mexico, USA
Immediately above and below


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© Robert Barnes 2018