Common Name; Wooly nightshade, Tobacco tree
Wooly nightshade is an unarmed shrub native to South America that grows to a height of about 4 meters. The plant is considered highly invasive in many parts of world. It has rapidly spread to most parts of Western Ghats: more common around towns and road-sides in hilly areas. The entire plant is covered with white hairs and this gives the plant a pale green look. The leaves are arranged in an alternate manner, the margin is entire and the leaf on both sides are intensely hairy. The tomentose leaf stalk measure around 3.4 cm in length; leaves are oval in shape with a cuneate base and has an acuminate apex. At the base of leaf there are auriculate (ear shaped) green colored stipules.The leaf measure around 30 cm in length. The inflorescence is in the form of a axillary branched corymb. The inflorescence stalk measure around 18 cm. The individual flower stalk measure around 3 mm. The flower measurers across 1.5 cm; the five petals are arranged in star like manner and the petals are purple in color. At the center of the flower four yellow colored anthers are prominently seen. The flower has a single style. The fruit appear green in color initially, then become golden in color when ripe. It encloses several seeds. All parts of the plant are highly poisonous to humans and cattle. However birds gorge on the ripe fruits. Birds like Bulbuls prefer this fruit and are mainly responsible for its dispersion. Endemic birds (to Western Ghats) like Nilgiri Flycatcher also forages on this plant. Woody night shade resembles S. erianthum, both plants have similar geographical distribution around Western ghats area. However the S erianthum has white flowers.