Solanum perplexum, Small, Man. S. E. Fl.

Wahlert, Gregory A., Chiarini, Franco E. & Bohs, Lynn, 2015, A Revision of Solanum Section Lathyrocarpum (the Carolinense Clade, Solanaceae), Systematic Botany 40 (3), pp. 853-887 : 881-882

publication ID 10.1600/036364415x689302


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scientific name

Solanum perplexum


9. SOLANUM PERPLEXUM Small, Man. S. E. Fl. [Small]: 1115, 1508. 1933.— TYPE: U. S. A. Georgia: Thomas County, along or near the Ochlockonee River near Thomasville, 28 May–6 Jun 1895 (fl), J. K. Small s. n. (holotype: NY – NY00138956 !).

Upright perennial herb up to 1 m tall, 1- to few-branched. Stems glabrous or sparsely to densely pubescent with sessile to short-stalked stellate hairs 0.5–1.2 mm in diameter, with (4–)6–8 lateral rays, the central ray 1–2-celled and up to 1.4 mm long, unarmed or sparsely to moderately armed with tapered prickles up to 12 mm long. Sympodial units 2- to 3-foliate, sometimes plurifoliate, the leaves not geminate. Leaves simple, the blades 7–22 × 8–18 cm, broadly ovate in outline, sparsely to densely stellate-pubescent abaxially, slightly less so adaxially with hairs like those of the stem, sparsely to moderately armed with prickles up to 15 mm long on the major veins abaxially and adaxially; base truncate to cuneate, equal to unequal, often with one side offset up to ca. 1.2 cm from the other; margin shallowly to deeply lobed with 2–5 lobes per side; apex acute or rounded; petioles 1–6 cm long, sparsely to densely stellate-pubescent with hairs like those of the stem, sparsely to densely armed with prickles up to 12 mm long. Inflorescences 7–15 cm long, extra-axillary, 1- to several-branched, with up to ca. 15 flowers, weakly andromonoecious, the axes moderately to densely stellate-pubescent, sparsely armed with prickles up to 8 mm long; peduncle 4–7 cm long; pedicels 1–2 cm in flower, up to ca. 2.4 cm and curved downward in fruit, weakly articulated at the base, moderately to densely stellate-pubescent, unarmed or sparsely armed with prickles up to 5 mm long. Calyx 7–13 mm long, the tube 1–4 mm long, the lobes 4–10 × 2–5 mm, ovate-lanceolate, the apex acute to shortly acuminate, densely stellate-pubescent abaxially, glabrous adaxially, unarmed or sparsely armed with prickles up to 1.3 mm long; calyx of immature fruit spreading to reflexed, weakly accrescent, 10–12 mm long, the tube 0.5–2 mm long, the lobes 4–10 × 4–8 mm, ovate-lanceolate to triangular, sparsely to moderately stellate-pubescent, very sparsely armed with prickles up to 4 mm long. Corollas 2–4.4 cm in diameter, 10–20 mm long, stellate to stellate-pentagonal or rotatestellate, chartaceous, lavender, the tube 2–9 mm long, the lobes 4–17 × 4–15 mm, deltate to triangular, the apex acute, moderately stellate-pubescent abaxially, glabrous adaxially. Stamens with filaments 1–2.5 × 0.25–0.7 mm; anthers 4–10 × 1.2–2.4 mm, narrowly lanceolate, weakly or not connivent, yellow, the pores directed distally. Ovary ca. 2.5 × 2–2.5 mm, ovoid, glabrous or sparsely pubescent with simple white hairs up to 0.5 mm long and glandular hairs up to 0.2 mm long; style 10–13 × 0.4–1 mm, cylindrical, straight, glabrous or sparsely pubescent at base, exserted; stigma capitate. Fruits ca. 1.8 × 2 cm, subglobose, the color unknown at maturity, glabrous, the rind tough. Seeds ca. 2 × 2.5 mm, flattened-reniform, often twisted, lenticular, yellow, the surface finely foveolate.

Distribution and Habitat — Solanum perplexum occurs in southeastern Alabama, southwestern Georgia and northern Florida, with a single collection from western Mississippi ( Fig. 7 View FIG ). It grows sandy and clay soils in disturbed areas such as cultivated fields (e.g. peanut, cotton), roadsides, grazed pastures, forest edges, and urban waste areas at elevations from near sea level to ca. 120 m.

Phenology — Flowering between May and August; fruiting between September and November.

Conservation Status — Solanum perplexum is distributed mainly in the region where the borders of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida meet, with a single outlying population in western Mississippi. Excluding the single collection from Mississippi, the species has an extent of occurrence of 53,000 km 2 and area of occupancy 132 km 2. Solanum perplexum is a weed and often grows in disturbed habitats. It is doubtful that there will be a significant reduction in the population size or number of locations, and the species is assigned a preliminary conservation status of “least concern” ( LC).

Etymology — Small (1933) did not provide any clues about his use of the word “ perplexum .” However, because of the reported polyploidy in Solanum perplexum and its morphological intermediacy between S. carolinense and S. dimidiatum , “ perplexum ” seems a fitting epithet.

Vernacular Names — None recorded.

Chromosome Number — D’ Arcy reported a gametophyic chromosome number for Solanum perplexum (as S. dimidiatum ) of n = 36 ± 1 ( D’ Arcy, 1969).

Notes — Many herbarium specimens have been annotated by W. G. D’ Arcy as Solanum perplexum , but he placed the species in synonymy under S. dimidiatum in his treatment of Solanum in Florida ( D’ Arcy 1974). Examination of both S. perplexum and S. dimidiatum for this revision revealed several consistent, non-overlapping morphological differences between the two species, as well as separate geographical ranges ( Fig. 7 View FIG ), and we consider S. perplexum to be worthy of taxonomic recognition at the rank of species. In floral and fruit morphology, S. perplexum is similar to S. dimidiatum , but it differs by the indumentum of golden stellate hairs with (4–)6–8 lateral rays with the central ray 1–2-celled and longer than lateral rays (vs. whitish stellate hairs with (4–)6–10 lateral rays with the central ray 1-celled and equal to or shorter than lateral rays in S. dimidiatum ), the larger prickles on the stems and leaves (up to 15 mm long vs. up to 6.5 mm long), and the larger leaves (up to 22 × 18 cm vs. up to 16 × 10 cm).

The protologue of Solanum perplexum is divided over two non-consecutive pages, with a description in English on page 1115 and the citation of a type on page 1508, which

reads: “Type, near Thomasville, Ga., Small, May 28–June 6, 1895, in herb. C. U.” The abbreviation “herb. C. U.” refers to the herbarium at Columbia University, which was transferred to The New York Botanical Garden in 1898, and the collection information unambiguously refers to the specimen J. K. Small s. n. ( NY – NY 00138956!). Because a single herbarium was indicated for the type in the protologue, and due to the fact that there is no evidence of duplicates deposited elsewhere, we interpret the J. K. Small s. n. specimen at NY as the holotype.

Additional Specimens Examined — U. S. A. Alabama: Barbour County, Barbour Co. Hwy 5, 1.3 mi. N of AL Hwy 10, T9N, R24E, S30, 2 Jun 2002 (fl), A. R. Diamond 13245 ( VDB); roadside of Hwy 30 at 4.9 mi. W of jct. with Hwy 431 in Eufala, 12 May 1997 (fl), J. R. MacDonald 10468 ( VDB); vicinity of Comer, roadside of Silo Rd. at 2.1 mi. N of jct. with Hwy 82, 9 May 1998 (fl), J. R. MacDonald 11155 ( VDB); Geneva County, Geneva Co. Hwy 6, 1.5 mi. W of Geneva Co. Hwy 55, T1N, R23E, S19, 16 May 2002 (fl), A. R. Diamond 13182 ( UNA, VDB); Geneva, farm of Charles Turner on Co. Rd. 6 at 3 mi. E of jct. with Co. Hwy 4, 28 Apr 1999 (fl), J. R. MacDonald 12745 ( VDB); Gilchrist County, ca. 1½ mi. N of Lovedale community center on W side of Timerlane Rd., 17 Jun 1993 (fl), A. M. Andreasen s.n. ( FLAS); Henry County, Trawich Farm, 18 Aug 1982 (fl), R. L. Nichols s. n. ( FLAS); 4–5 mi. SE of Headland, Hemp City, 18 Aug 1982 (fl), R. L. Nichols s. n. ( MO); Houston County, above Cowart’ s Creek, SW Cottonwood, 20 Jun 1978 (st), R. Kral 62097 ( VDB); ca. 2.2 mi. NE of Grangeburg, on Bazemores Rd. at 0.6 mi. E of jct. with Houston Co. Hwy 81, T1N, R10W, NW ¼ of NE ¼ of S25, 8 Jun 1996 (fl), J. R. MacDonald 9538 ( NY, VDB); 4 mi. S of Ashford, on Houston Co. Rd. 55, 25 May 1971 (fl), H. D. Moore 1163 ( VDB); Lee County, ca. 1.5 mi. W of Roxana, toward Notasulga, 25 May 1987 (fl), J. D. Freeman s. n. ( VDB); Pike County, Pike Co. Hwy 25 at S side of Good Hope Church, T10N, R20E, S28, 8 Jul 2000 (fl), A. R. Diamond 11780 ( VDB); ca. 1 mi. N of Brundidge, on Co. Hwy 26 at 0.5 mi. W of jct. with State Hwy 93, 6 May 1995 (fl), J. R. MacDonald 8599 ( MO, VDB). Florida: Alachua County, Old Rocky Point Rd., near Gainesville, 21 Jun 1937 (fl), L. E. Arnold & E. West s. n. (DUKE-n.v., FLAS); between FL 24 & 26, 1 mi. W of US 75, 12 May 1967 (fl), W. G. D’ Arcy 1587 ( FLAS, MO); NW of Gainesville, S of SR 232, T9S, R18E, S13, 14 Jul 1978 (fl), W. J. Dunn 1 ( FLAS); 2 mi. S of Gainesville, 3 May 1933 (fl), J. W. Kea s. n. ( FLAS); Paynes Prairie, Gainesville, 28 Apr 1935 (fl), G. F. Weber s. n. ( FLAS [2 sheets]); Columbia County, Lake City off October Rd., 20 Jul 2004 (st), P. Tomlinson s. n. ( FLAS); Gilchrist County, ca. 2 mi. W of Bell, along FL Hwy 341, 17 May 1968 (fl), W. G. D’ Arcy 2477 ( FLAS, MO); Jackson County, bordering Rt. 167 just N of jct. with Rt. 1656c, ca. 4 air mi. SW of Marianna, 12 May 2006 (fl), L. C. Anderson 21774 ( FSU); [Jackson County], without precise locality, s.d. (fl), A. W. Chapman s. n. ( NY); 0.5 mi. W of intersection of Gulf Power Rd and Douglas Rd., T4N, R7W, NE corner of S11, 10 Jun 2005 (fl), S. Halpern s. n. ( FSU); Jefferson County, along Lake Miccosukee, 22 Apr 1924 (fl), J. K. Small et al. 11201 ( NY); Waukeenah, 11 Jul 1940 (fl), W. A. Murrill s. n. ( FLAS); Monticello, 14 May 1928 (fl), R. E. Nolen s. n. ( FLAS [2 sheets]); Leon County, N Monroe St. across from Tallahassee Mall in front of Capitol Cinemas, 17 Nov 1984 (fr), L. C. Anderson 7800 ( FSU); near Tallahassee, s.d. (fl), N. K. Berg s. n. ( NY); Tallahassee, 2 May 1955 (fl), R. K. Godfrey 53226 (DUKE-n.v., FSU, GA-n.v., NY, SMU-n.v., UNA); West Tallahassee, 15 May 1951 (fl), C. Jackson 533 ( FSU); Tallahassee, 7 May 1961 (fl), R. K. Godfrey 60805 ( FSU); ca. 1 mi. W of Tallahassee, 23 May 1926 (fl, fr) H. Kurz s. n. ( NY); Apalachicola National Forest 10 mi. S of Tallahassee, 13 May 1955 (st), P. L. Redfearn 350–2-55 ( FSU); Wakulla County, 3 mi. S of Crawfordsville, by US Rt. 319, 13 May 1978 (fl), R. K. Godfrey 76461 ( FSU); 3 mi. S of Crawfordsville, 6 May 1957 (fl), R. Kral 4711 ( FSU, VDB); prope St. Marks, May 1843 (fl), F. I. X. Rugel s. n. ( NY); 1.6 mi. N of Medart on US 319, 30 Apr 1982 (fl), R. P. Wunderlin & J. Beckner 9285 ( FLAS). Georgia: Calhoun County, 5 mi. NE of Morgan off Rt. 41N, 13 Sep 1982 (st), R. L. Nichols s. n. ( FLAS, MO); Decatur County, ca. 1 mi. W of Attapulgus along road to Faceville, 4 Jun 1982 (fl), L. C. Anderson 5959 ( FSU); Dougherty County, 1 mi. N of Pretoria, 17 May 1947 (fl), R. F. Thorne 4010 ( NY); Lee County, 5.4 mi. SSW of Leslie, 23 Aug 1977 (fl), R. Kral 60931 ( MO, VDB [2 sheets]); Sumter County, off Rte. 280 E, 13 Sep 1982 (fl, fr), R. L. Nichols s. n. ( FLAS); just W of South Lee St. (GA 377) and S of Mill Creek, ca. 2.4 mi. S, and slightly E of downtown Americus, ca. 100 m, 16 May 1997 (fl), R. A. Norris 6846 ( VDB); Thomas County, US-84, 6.3 mi. E of Thomasville, 4 June 1970 (fl), W. R. Faircloth 6723 ( MO). Mississippi: Washington County, ca. 3 mi. NE of Stoneville, 13 May 1997 (fl), C. T. Bryson 15820 ( VDB).


William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden


Vanderbilt University


University of Alabama Herbarium


Florida Museum of Natural History, Herbarium


Missouri Botanical Garden


Jena Microbial Resource Collection














Solanum perplexum

Wahlert, Gregory A., Chiarini, Franco E. & Bohs, Lynn 2015


Small 1933: 1508