Solanum rostratum (Buffalo Bur Nightshade)
|Also known as:||Kansas Thistle|
|Habitat:||sun; dry, along roads, waste areas|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|USDA PLANTS database:||Minnesota county distribution map|
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Flowers are in a raceme that grows up to 6 inches long; flowers bloom from the bottom up. Individual flowers are about 1 inch across with 5 bright yellow fused petals with crinkled or wavy edges. There are 5 tubular stamens and a long curved style in the center. The bract is spiny. One plant has a few to several racemes on its many branches.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 5 inches wide, with irregular and deep rounded lobes. There are yellow spines along the major veins on both sides of the leaf, and on the leaf stem. The underside is hairy.
Notes:This is one mean plant—every part of it is covered in sharp spines. It's kind of interesting to look at, but touch at your own risk! I've read different opinions of where this plant originates, but the consensus seems to be it is native to the U.S., but not to the Upper Midwest.
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Photos taken at the Northwest Quadrant construction site, Old Highway 8, New Brighton, MN August 2008
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?