Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal

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Withania somnifera

Photo: Bart Wursten
C8 between Katima Mulilo and Kongola at turn-off to Kaenda

Withania somnifera

Photo: Bart Wursten
C8 between Katima Mulilo and Kongola at turn-off to Kaenda

Withania somnifera

Photo: Bart Wursten
C8 between Katima Mulilo and Kongola at turn-off to Kaenda

Withania somnifera

Photo: Bart Wursten
C8 between Katima Mulilo and Kongola at turn-off to Kaenda

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Physalis somnifera L.
Common names: Poison gooseberry (English) Winter cherry (English)
Status: Native per POWO
Erect subshrub or woody based perennial to 1.5 m. Stems tomentose. Leaves: lamina 4-10 × 3-7 cm, ovate, stellate-tomentose, glabrescent; base cuneate; margin entire. Flowers 4-16 in a cluster. Corolla greenish, tomentose externally. Fruit a berry, 8-10 mm in diameter, spherical, glossy, scarlet, enclosed within an enlarged accrescent calyx, c. 2 cm in fruit.
Derivation of specific name: somnifera: sleep-bearing or -producing
Habitat: Roadsides, disturbed ground, termite mounds, open woodland and riverine vegetation.
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native from Europe south through Africa to South Africa and from the Middle East to India and southern China.
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Friday 2 March 2018

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 37.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 111.

Gonçalves, A.E. (2005). Solanaceae Flora Zambesiaca 8(4) Pages 56 - 58. (Includes a picture).

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 110. (Includes a picture).

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 117. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 80.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 100.

Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust. Durban. Pages 72 - 73. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 106.

Wild, H. (1955). Common Rhodesian Weeds Government of Rhodesia, Salisbury Page 91. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Withania somnifera:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Withania somnifera
Flora of Malawi: Withania somnifera
Flora of Mozambique: Withania somnifera
Flora of Zambia: Withania somnifera
Flora of Zimbabwe: Withania somnifera

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Withania somnifera
African Plant Database: Withania somnifera
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Withania somnifera
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Withania somnifera
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Withania somnifera
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Withania somnifera
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Withania somnifera
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Withania somnifera
iNaturalist: Withania somnifera
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Withania somnifera
JSTOR Plant Science: Withania somnifera
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Withania somnifera
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Withania somnifera
Plants of the World Online: Withania somnifera
Tropicos: Withania somnifera
Wikipedia: Withania somnifera

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Caprivi: Species information: Withania somnifera.
https://www.capriviflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=150500, retrieved 31 January 2023

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