Buffalo Bur
Solanum rostratum
Solanaceae (Nightshade) Family

Plant is also known as Kansas Thistle, Colorado Thistle, Texas Thistle, Mexican Thistle and Prickly Nightshade.

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.

Fruit is a spiny berry.

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.

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