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: Probably introduced
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 to the Old World subtropics; now widely distributed 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. (undated, c. 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
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): 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
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Withania somnifera
Ispot Southern Africa: Withania somnifera
JSTOR Plant Science: Withania somnifera
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Withania somnifera
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Withania somnifera
The Plant List (version 1.1): Withania somnifera
Tropicos: Withania somnifera

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-19

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2019). Flora of Caprivi: Species information: Withania somnifera.
https://www.capriviflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=150500, retrieved 25 May 2019

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