Solanaceae (Nightshade) Family
Plant is also known as Kansas Thistle, Colorado Thistle,
Texas Thistle, Mexican Thistle and Prickly Nightshade.
Fruit is a spiny berry.
Buffalo Bur is a sprawling or erect annual with a taproot.
Numerous hairy stalks with dense spines
arise from the base. Its preferred habitat is various soils in
abandoned areas, overgrazed pastures, cultivated fields and flats.
Distribution is occasional in the Escambia region.
The leaves are alternate on the stem; (bi)pinnately lobed,
spiny. The leaf stalk is about 2 inches long, also with spines.
The blades are broad, stellate pubescent. The leaf tips are rounded.
The plant is considered to be one of the more nasty as the dense
spines render it not to be handled or stepped on.
The flowers are racemes arising from the side of the stem.
The corolla is yellow and funnelform. The margins of the corolla
are undulate to slightly crisped. The stamens number 5, adnate
near the base of the corolla tube. The four primary petals are
symmetrical in form, but the fifth is longer and different; bisexual
in nature. The filliments are yellow and smooth. Flowers occur
in summer and autumn.
The potato or nightshade family has about 3,000 species
worldwide; most are found in tropical America. The family includes
some valuable food plants including tomatoes, bell peppers, and
ground cherries as well as harmful or poisonous plants like tobacco,
jimsonweed, henbane, and belladonna. The genus Solanum contains
about 2,000 species. Solanum is an ancient Latin name for an
unknown plant. Rostratum means "beaked" in reference
to a characteristic of the pollen-bearing organs, the anthers.
Buffalo Bur was first described for science in 1813 by Michael
Felix Dunal (1789-1856), professor of botany at the University
of Montpellier, France.
The common name recalls the time when buffalo roamed the
prairies and wallowed in areas where this plant grew profusely,
getting the burs matted in their shaggy coats.