Guide to plants of northern and east-central Mali

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Solanaceae website:

Capsicum 50616 (cultivated chili peppers, cayenne peppers)

Capsicum annuum 50614 (Fr. piment)

notes: stout herb 2-5 feet high; white flowers, blue to purple anthers, toothed calyx

Capsicum frutescens 50615 (Fr. piment)

notes: shrubby habit; greenish flowers, blue anthers, non-toothed calyx
Datura 50619 (narcotic bushes)

stem and branches green or purple, sub-glabrous

corolla limb rounded with 5 primary teeth alternating with 5 sinuses

fruit an erect, dry, spiny capsule splitting regularly into 4 valves

stem and branches green

corolla 10 cm, white

fruit ovoid with spines of equal length D. stramonium

stem and branches green, stem under the hypocotyls (transition of stem to root) purple

corolla 10 cm, white

fruit ovoid with few, stout spines D. ferox

corolla limb rounded, pentagonal or decagonal with 5 primary teeth alternating with 5 secondary teeth or alternating with 5 sinuses

fruit a deflexed (nodding), berry-like, spiny capsule splitting regularly into 4 valves or irregularly into scattered fragments

stem and branches green or purple

corolla 16-20 cm, white or colored, single or double. Corolla limb rounded with 5-9 primary teeth alternating with 5-9 sinuses

fruit ovoid with short conical spines or tubercules D. metel

corolla limb white or colored, rounded, pentagonal or decagonal, with 5 primary teeth alternating with 5 secondary teeth or 5 sinuses

fruit a deflexed (nodding), berry-like, spiny capsule, Spines soft or sharp.

stem and branches cinnerous pubescent

leaves large, somewhat succulent with cordate base

corolla 16-20 cm, entirely white. Corolla limb rounded or pentagonal with 5 primary teeth alternating with 5 secondary teeth or 5 sinuses

fruit with long, soft spines D. inoxia

Datura ferox (introduced)

records: Bamako (Boudet)

habitat: weed

notes: fruit erect, few stout spines, stems green; stem under hypocotyls purple; small corolla 10 cm

Datura inoxia 50617 (introduced)

records: Gao, Bamako, Bandiagara (Boudet); Hombori, Douentza, Sevare, Beni (JH)

habitat: weed, usually in shade

notes: fruit deflexed (nodding), many long thin spines (often soft); stems cinnerous (cinnamon-colored) pubescent; large corolla 16-20 cm wide

Datura metel 50618

records: Bandiagara, Kikara (Boudet)

habitat: ruderal, s.t. cultivated

notes: fruit deflexed (nodding), short conical spines or turbercules; stems green or purple; large corolla 16-20 cm wide

Datura stramonium 50620 (“jimson weed”)

records: Kabara (Boudet)

habitat: clayey soils near ponds

notes: fruit erect, many equal spines; stems green; leaf more sharply incised than other spp.; small corolla 10 cm


Lycopersicon esculentum (syn Solanum lycopersicum) (cultivated tomato)

Nicotiana 50622 (tobacco, all spp. native to S. America)

Nicotiana rustica 50621 (cultivated indigenous tobacco)

records: Bamba (Boudet)

notes: herb, branched up to 4 feet, short greenish-yellow flowers that are villous (woolly) outside; corolla not more than 2 cm long

Nicotiana tabacum 50623 (ordinary tobacco)

notes: robust annual to 6 feet high; long tubular flower white, pinkish, or cream, viscid-glandular outside, corolla about 4 cm long

Physalis 50626 (herb, stem hollow, often hexagonal, air-filled fruits [like those of Halicacabum])

[observe size and stem pubescence in the field]

Physalis angulata 5064 (“husk tomato”)

records: Macina (Boudet); Beni, Douentza, Bendiely (JH)

habitat: common on moist clayey soil, s.t. on sand, mostly in gardens

notes: more erect, bushy, up to 90 cm high; stem entirely glabrous; calyx covering fruit 2 cm wide, 2-3 cm long

Physalis lagascae 50625 (syns P. micrantha [thus Boudet], P. minima [misapplied by Berhaut etc.])

records: Sikasso, Djenne, Bamako (Boudet); Beni (JH)

notes: bushy, but often decumbent, rarely more than 50 cm high; stem finely pubescent; calyx covering fruit 0.8 cm wide, 1.3-1.5 cm long

Physalis micrantha (see P. lagascae)

Physalis minima (see P. lagascae)

Schwenkia americana

records: Sanga, south (Boudet)

habitat: weed of cultivation

notes: erect herb with slender stems, freely branching, 1-3 feet; lower leaves petiolate, elliptic to ovate, up to 4 cm x 2.5 cm, rounded to subacute, entire; upper leaves becoming narrowly oblong, sessile; inflorescence a lax panicle, small greenish-yellow flowers, corolla narrowly tubular; subglobose capsule surrounded by persistent calyx and dehiscing by two valves

reference: Adventrop; drawing in FWTA2 vol 2, p. 327



Solanum aethiopicum

cultivars (both sold regularly in markets):

a) 50631 fruit rather hard with rugged creased surface, eaten only after cooking

b) 50630 succulent fruit qith smooth surface and thin skin, eaten raw or cooked

taxonomy: cultivar (a) is definitely this sp., and cultivar (b) may be as well

Solanum lycopersicum (see Lycopersicon esculentum)

Solanum macrocarpon 50632 (another “African eggplant”) [get description] [not in CIRAD]

distribution: W and E Africa; not confirmed for Mali (JH)

notes: (FWTA2 vol 2 p. 334) half-woody usually unarmed underschrub with rather stout branches up to 5 feet high, hairy or sometimes glabrescent, flowers white or bluish-purpole, often cultivated

Solanum melongena 50633 (cultivated European eggplant, large, black-skinned)

Solanum tuberosum 50629 (cultivated potato; see also yam, Dioscorea alata)


Solanum americanum 50628 (former S. nigrum now included in this taxon)


“S. americanum”: none (Boudet) (but see comments below)

“S. nigrum”: Timbuktu, Gao, Hombori (Boudet); Djenne (JH)

notes: bushy plant with small edible blackish berries similar to huckleberries (JH)

Solanum forskalii (syn S. heudelotii) [get description]

records: Niafunke in forest (Boudet)

reference: Hepper & Wood, Kew Bull. 38:85 (1983)

Solanum incanum 50627

records: Douentza, Mopti, Timbuktu, Sotuba (Boudet); scattered but well-known for toxis properties from Dogon country to Timbuktu-Gao area

notes: entire plant hairy and thorny, thorns emerge even from middle of leaf blade; small tomato-like fruits, usually yellow to orange when ripe (JH)

ethnobotany: fruits look like tomatoes, but entire plant is toxic (used by Songhay to kill dogs and other animals)

Solanum nigrum (very close to and arguably conspecific with S. americanum)

Solanum torvum

records: none (Boudet)

notes: shrubby weed to 10 feet, with flattened spines, white or lilac flowers (leaf resembles S. incanum)

Withania somnifera

records: Labbezanga, Timbuktu (Boudet), also Europe, Canaries, India, Palestine, etc.

habitat: shaded sand

notes (FWTA2 vol 2 p. 329): shrubby herb, stems stellate-tomentose; leaves alliptic to broadly ovate-lanceolate, apex acute to rounded, abruptly acute to long-decurrent at base, 5-10 cm x 2-5 cm, entire or sinuate; petiole 1-2 cm; flowers 2-6 in axillary fascicles, calyx and corolla campanulate (bell-shaped), corolla twice as long as calyx; fruit a red globose berry

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