Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)
This is a large family but one not well represented in this range. Flowers listed here are tubular, flaring at right angles at the mouth. Other species with open, bell-shaped flowers occur in the range, but only rarely.
Lycium andersoniiGray. Desert Tomato. (Plate 6.229) A spiny shrub, 1–4 ft (0.3–1.3 m) high. Leaves are plump and fleshy but narrow, linear or oblanceolate, tapering toward the base, 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) long. The flowers are numerous but somewhat drab and obscure. The short calyx has five triangular lobes. The corolla is a slender tube about 3/8 in (1 cm) long, gently broadening, with five short, flaring lobes. More showy are the fleshy red fruits, which resemble miniature tomatoes, about 1/4 in (6 mm) in diameter. Flower: Whitish to dull yellowish tube with bluish lavender lobes.
Distribution. Common on dry, rocky slopes; Desert Scrub, below 6,000 ft (1,829 m).
Lycium cooperiGray. Peach-thorn. (Plate 6.230) A sturdy, very leafy, somewhat spiny shrub, 3–6 ft (1–2 m) high. Its leaves are 1/2–1 1/4 in (13–30 mm) long, obovate, tapered to a short petiole. They are clustered on knobby growths along the branches. The calyx has a broad tube 1/4 in (6 mm) long, topped by five lanceolate lobes about half as long. The corolla tube is about 1/2 in (13 mm) long and has five triangular lobes. The distinctive fruit is dry, greenish, constricted above the middle, and somewhat notched at the sides. Flower: Greenish white, some with lavender veins.
Distribution. Mostly along cliffs at its lower elevations, but on open flats in its upper range; Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,000–7,000 ft (1,220–7,000 m).
Nicotiana attenuataTorr. Coyote Tobacco. A somewhat glandular-hairy annual, 12–20 in (3–5 dm) tall. The leaf blades are ovate-lanceolate, 1 1/2–3 in (4–8 cm) long, on petioles up to 1 in long. They are mostly basal, but there are some narrower leaves on the stems. Flowers are in loose racemes. The calyx is 1/4 in (6 mm) long,
enlarging in fruit. The corolla is narrowly tubular, 1–1 3/8 in (2.5–3.5 cm) long, with a narrow limb. Flower: White to greenish white.
Distribution. Limited, along roadways and disturbed places; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 5,000–9,000 ft (1,524–2,744 m).
Nicotiana trigonophyllaDunal. Desert Tobacco. (Plate 6.231) An ill-smelling glandular-hairy perennial, 1–2 ft (3–6 dm) high, leafy throughout. Leaves on the stem are ovate to obovate, sometimes narrowing and then flaring just above the base, usually clasping. The lower ones are about 3 in (1 dm) long, gradually reduced upward. The calyx, including its five lanceolate teeth, is 3/8 in (1 cm) long. The comparatively broad corolla tube is 3/4 in (2 cm) long, with a broad limb. Flower: Creamy white to greenish.
Distribution. Common in lower canyons, usually on or about cliffs; Inyo Mountains; Desert Scrub, up to 4,600 ft (1,402 m).