1. Family: Solanaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Withania Pauquy
      1. Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal

        This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Europe to Central China, Africa to Sri Lanka.

    [FZ]

    Flora Zambesiaca. Vol. 8, Part 4. Solanaceae. Gonçalves AE. 2005

    Type
    Type: Linnean specimen 247.1 (LINN, lectotype, IDC microfiche neg. 136.III.5!).
    General
    Erect, sometimes spreading or more rarely decumbent, often bushy, herb or shrub, with usually several–many stems arising from a woody rootstock; younger parts whitish or greyish tomentose with small branched hairs, glabrescent
    Pedicel
    Pedicels (1)2–4(5) mm long, slender, in fruit elongated to 9 (or more) mm
    Stamens
    Stamens 5, scarcely exserted, glabrous; filaments 2.5–3(3.5) mm long; anthers 0.6–1 mm long, ovate-oblong in outline, the connective often apiculate Stamens 5, scarcely exserted, glabrous; filaments 2.5–3(3.5) mm long; anthers 0.6–1 mm long, ovate-oblong in outline, the connective often apiculate.
    Ovary
    Ovary 1–2(2.5) × 0.7–1. 5(2) mm, ovoid, glabrous.
    Style
    Style 2–3.5 mm long, scarcely exserted
    Fruits
    Fruit green turning brick-coloured, orange or red when ripe, glossy, subsessile in the erect to pendulous calyx, (5)6–10(12) mm in diameter Fruit green turning brick-coloured, orange or red when ripe, glossy, subsessile in the erect to pendulous calyx, (5)6–10(12) mm in diameter.
    Seeds
    Seeds 2–2.5 × 1. 5–1. 8(2.5) mm, lenticular-reniform, sometimes ovate or elliptic in outline, orange, bright red or pale brown Seeds 2–2.5 × 1.5–1.8(2.5) mm, lenticular-reniform, sometimes ovate or elliptic in outline, orange, bright red or pale brown.
    Ecology
    Widespread but not common on disturbed ground and roadsides, in cultivated lands, on termite mounds in grassland, in open woodland and riverine vegetation.
    Note
    Common name: “Winter Cherry”. Sometimes used as a medicine.
    Distribution
    Botswana. Mozambique Zambia Malawi BOT N, BOT SW, BOT SE, ZAM B, ZAM N, ZAM W, ZAM C, ZAM S, ZIM N, ZIM W, ZIM C, ZIM E, ZIM S, MAL C, MAL S, MOZ S, MOZ GI, MOZ M Native to the Old World subtropics, now widely distributed mainly in the drier regions, extending from Mediterranean Europe southwards through tropical Africa to South Africa and from Canary and Cape Verde Islands eastwards through the Middle East and Ara
    Habit
    Erect, sometimes spreading or more rarely decumbent, often bushy, herb or shrub, with usually several–many stems arising from a woody rootstock; younger parts whitish or greyish tomentose with small branched hairs, glabrescent.
    Branches
    Branches terete or somewhat angular, striate. Branches terete or somewhat angular, striate
    Leaves
    Leaves alternate or distally ± opposite; petiole 0.3–3.2 cm long, rather sheathing at the base; lamina membranous to somewhat fleshy, 2.5–17.5 × 1–7 cm, ovate to obovate, occasionally lanceolate or oblanceolate, rarely rotund, base obtuse to attenuate, occasionally rounded or truncate, and often oblique or occasionally unequal-sided, ± decurrent into the petiole, apex obtuse to acute, sometimes acuminate, entire to sinuate, whitish tomentose, becoming sparsely pubescent above and more densely so beneath especially on the nerves. Leaves alternate or distally ± opposite; petiole 0.3–3.2 cm long, rather sheathing at the base; lamina membranous to somewhat fleshy, 2.5–17.5 × 1–7 cm, ovate to obovate, occasionally lanceolate or oblanceolate, rarely rotund, base obtuse to attenuate, occasionally rounded or truncate, and often oblique or occasionally unequal-sided, ± decurrent into the petiole, apex obtuse to acute, sometimes acuminate, entire to sinuate, whitish tomentose, becoming sparsely pubescent above and more densely so beneath especially on the nerves
    Flowers
    Flowers (1)2–8(10) at a node, erect to nodding; pedicels (1)2–4(5) mm long, slender, in fruit elongated to 9 (or more) mm. Flowers (1)2–8(10) at a node, erect to nodding.
    Calyx
    Calyx 3–5.5(7) mm long, 2–3.5(4) mm across, often slightly 5- or 10-ribbed, divided to c. the middle into 5 triangular to lanceolate or sub-linear lobes 1.4–3 × 0.8–1.6 mm, tomentellous outside and on the lobes inside; in fruit papyraceous or scarious, brownish, (10)12–24 × (8)9–17 mm, urceolate or ovoid-conic, ± 5-angled and somewhat 10-ribbed, sunken at the base, ± acute, acuminate at the summit, the lobes 2–5 × 1–3 mm, somewhat glabrescent. Calyx 3–5.5(7) mm long, 2–3.5(4) mm across, often slightly 5- or 10-ribbed, divided to c. the middle into 5 triangular to lanceolate or sub-linear lobes 1. 4–3 × 0.8–1. 6 mm, tomentellous outside and on the lobes inside; in fruit papyraceous or scarious, brownish, (10)12–24 × (8)9–17 mm, urceolate or ovoid-conic, ± 5-angled and somewhat 10-ribbed, sunken at the base, ± acute, acuminate at the summit, the lobes 2–5 × 1–3 mm, somewhat glabrescent
    Corolla
    Corolla yellowish to greenish-white or greenish, 4–7(8) mm long, campanulate or tubular-infundibular, divided to near the middle or less, hairy with finger-like hairs on the upper part of the tube and lobes outside, also with a band of longer hairs inside above insertion of the filaments; limb 3–6.5(7) mm across; lobes 5, 1.5–3(4) × 1.3–2.5 mm, triangular or triangular-lanceolate, acute, sub-acute or sometimes acuminate. Corolla yellowish to greenish-white or greenish, 4–7(8) mm long, campanulate or tubular-infundibular, divided to near the middle or less, hairy with finger-like hairs on the upper part of the tube and lobes outside, also with a band of longer hairs inside above insertion of the filaments; limb 3–6.5(7) mm across; lobes 5, 1. 5–3(4) × 1. 3–2.5 mm, triangular or triangular-lanceolate, acute, sub-acute or sometimes acuminate
    Disc
    Disk 0.2–0.4 mm high. Disk 0.2–0.4 mm high
    Pistil
    Ovary 1–2(2.5) × 0.7–1.5(2) mm, ovoid, glabrous; style 2–3.5 mm long, scarcely exserted.
    [FWTA]

    Solanaceae, H. heine. Flora of West Tropical Africa 2. 1963

    Habit
    Much-branched undershrub 3-7 ft. high
    Flowers
    Flowers small, pale.
    [FTEA]

    Solanaceae, Jennifer M Edmonds. Oliganthes, Melongena & Monodolichopus, Maria S. Vorontsova & Sandra Knapp. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2012

    Type
    Type: India, Tsierutti, Linnaeus 247.1 (LINN!, lecto., designated by Schönbeck-Temesy in Rechinger, Fl. Iranica, 100: 27 (1972), misprinted as LINN 241/1) [See also Jarvis, Order out of Chaos: 742 (2007)]
    Habit
    Annual or perennial woody herbs or shrubs, erect, spreading or decumbent, 0.3–3 m high, laxly to densely branched, sometimes strongly aromatic; main stems erect, terete, all parts (in FTEA area) tomentose to pilose with whitish-yellow branched hairs, denser on younger parts, woody parts glabrescent
    Leaves
    Leaves usually membranaceous, ovate to lanceolate, (2.5–)4–11(–12.5) × (1.7–)3.5–7.8 cm, bases cuneate, margins usually entire, sometimes sinuate, apices obtuse to acute, densely tomentose when young with branched hairs, denser on veins, midribs and lower surfaces; petioles (0.5–)1–2.5(–4) cm but longer outside floral area
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescences in compact fascicles of (3–)5–9 (–20+) flowers, axillary, epedunculate; pedicels erect to pendulous, 1–3 mm long in flower, 2–5.5 mm long in fruit, densely clustered around stem, densely tomentose; calyx cupulate to urceolate-campanulate, 2.5–5.5(–6.6) mm long overall, cup fused for 2–3.5 mm, usually actinomorphic with 5 narrowly triangular to ligulate recurved acute lobes 1–3.5 × 0.5–1.5 mm wide, densely tomentose externally
    Corolla
    Corolla white, yellow, green, greenish-yellow or -white, usually hermaphrodite, broadly campanulate, (3–)4.5–6.5(–8) mm long overall with tube ± 1 mm long, usually actinomorphic with five broadly triangular recurved lobes 1.5–3(–4.5) × 1–2 mm wide, densely tomentose externally
    Stamens
    Stamens usually exserted; filaments free for 1.3–2.5 mm; anthers yellow to orange, equal, oblong to ovoid, 0.7–1.3 mm long, apiculate
    Ovary
    Ovary dark brown, ovoid, 1.1–1.5 × 0.7–1.5 mm, smooth; disc greenish to brown, 1–2.4 mm diameter; style 2–3(–4.5) mm long, often exserted; stigma 0.2–0.5 mm broad
    Fruits
    Fruit a smooth red, orange or yellow globose berry, 5–8(–10) mm diameter, mature pericarp often thin and translucent, enclosed by enlarged chartaceous urceolate conspicuously veined usually opaque calyx 10–18(–22) × 8–12(–15) mm with the mouth almost completely closed and subtended by recurved calyx lobes 3–6(–9) × 0.5–2 mm
    Seeds
    Seeds yellowish to brown, orbicular or discoid, sometimes reniform, 1.3–2.3 × 1.2–1.9 mm, foveolate; sclerotic granules usually absent
    Figures
    Fig 28, p 228
    Ecology
    Acacia-Commiphora bushland, grassland, wooded grassland, forests, river-banks, lakeshores, forest edges and clearings, a weed of shambas, bomas, old cultivations, fallow land, waste and disturbed places; may be locally common; 0–2300 m(– 2800 m fide
    Conservation
    Widespread; least concern (LC)
    Note
    All the characters given in the protologue of W. chevalieri overlap with those found in W. somnifera, with the exception of the style being 0.5 mm shorter. Thulin too (2002) thought that Gonçalves’ new species was a variable form of W. somnifera with smaller flowers and fruiting calyces. The species is very variable morphologically and especially vegetatively. Hunziker (in Gen. Solanaceae: 264, 2001) described it as being polymorphic, while Hepper (1991) noted that many herbarium specimens were intermediate between W. somnifera and W. obtusifolia, though he maintained them as separate species. Abedin et al. (in Pakistan J. Bot. 23: 279, 1991) while conceding that the features distinguishing the latter two taxa overlapped, thought that the variability warranted subspecific recognition in the Saudi Arabian region. Brenan & Greenway (in T.T.C.L., 1949) described the occurrence of W. aristata (Ait.) Pauq. In forests above 1680 m in the Usambaras. Their description of the inflorescences as having solitary or clustered flowers with aristate calyx lobes could indicate the occurrence of this species at high altitudes. However, this species seems to be confined to the Canary Islands, and Hepper (1991) thought that this together with W. frutescens were unlike the other species in the genus. Since no specimens examined during this revision were encountered which matched the morphological characteristics of W. aristata, it has not been included in this account. The typification of this species was discussed by Thulin (2002) who concluded that the Indian locality given on LINN 247.1 is correct despite the protologue including “Mexico” – where it has never been recorded – together with “Crete and Spain”.
    Distribution
    Flora districts: U1 U2 U3 U4 K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 Range: Also found throughout southern Europe and the Arabian Peninsula to India, Sri Lanka and China Range: Widespread in Africa
    [FTEA]
    Use
    The species has been used medicinally since ancient times; it was known to the ancient Egyptians with fruiting branches being included in the floral collar laid around the golden effigy of Tutankhamun. A large number of withanolides and alkaloids have been isolated from its leaves and roots, and there are numerous reports of its medicinal use throughout Africa. In East Africa root extracts are used to treat intestinal worms (T 1), stomach disorders (T 1, 5), thrush (T 1), pneumonia (T 1), gonorrhoea (T 2, K 1,6), irregular menstruation, coughs (T 2, 7), abscesses (T 2), childhood fevers and nightmares (K 6) and male sterility, as an emetic (K 2), a tonic (K 6), a diuretic (K 6), and an eye-wash (K 6, T 1). The plant is used for purificatory rites in U 2, crushed leaves are heated for use as an external pain killer in K 6 and to curdle milk by the Masai (K 6). There are conflicting reports of the edibility of this species which is considered to evoke bad luck especially if cut in Somalia, where, as in T 5, it is rarely eaten by stock though it is eaten by goats, cattle, donkeys and giraffe in Ethiopia. The flowers are reportedly visited by hunting wasps in Ethiopia.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Cape Verde, Chad, China North-Central, China South-Central, Cyprus, Djibouti, East Aegean Is., Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Free State, Greece, Gulf States, India, Iran, Kenya, Kriti, KwaZulu-Natal, Lebanon-Syria, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Rwanda, Sardegna, Saudi Arabia, Sicilia, Sinai, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, West Himalaya, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Baleares, Mauritius, New South Wales, Réunion, Socotra, South Australia

    Common Names

    English
    Indian ginseng, Poisonous gooseberry, Winter cherry

    Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Apr 26, 2007 Balston, M. E. [13a], Saudi Arabia K000196865
    Ash [1187], Ethiopia 35481.000
    Plowman, T. [3133], Israel 46283.000
    Foster [s.n.], Cape Verde K001134497
    Lowe, R.T. [s.n.], Cape Verde K001134496
    Lindeman, J.C. [5029], Brazil Physalis flexuosa K001071977
    Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 2635], India Physalis flexuosa K001116716
    Blinkworth, R. [Cat. no. 2635], India Physalis flexuosa K001116715
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 2635] Physalis flexuosa K001116712
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 2635] Physalis flexuosa K001116713
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 2635] Physalis flexuosa K001116714
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 2635] Physalis flexuosa K001116717
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 2635] Physalis flexuosa K001116718
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 2635], India Physalis flexuosa K001116719
    s.coll. [Cat. no. 2635], Bangladesh Physalis flexuosa K001116720

    First published in A.P.de Candolle, Prodr. 13(1): 453 (1852)

    Accepted by

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    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2013). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 5: 1-451. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
    • Edmonds, J. (2012). Flora of Tropical East Africa Solanaceae: 1-239.
    • Mosti, S., Raffaelli, M. & Tardelli, M. (2012). Contributions to the flora of central-southern Dhofar (Sultanate of Oman) Webbia; Raccolta de Scritti Botanici 67: 65-91.
    • Castroviejo, S. (ed.) in Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2012). Flora Iberica 11: 1-672. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
    • Llewellyn, O.A., Hall, M., Miller, A.G., Al-Abbasi, T.M., Al-Wetaid, A.H., Al-Harbi, R.J. & Al-Shammari, K.F. (2011). Important plant areas in the Arabian peninsula: 4. Jabal Aja Edinburgh Journal of Botany 68: 199-224.
    • Authier, P. & Covillot, J. (2011). Catalogue actualisé des plantes de l'île de Rhodes (Grèce) Saussurea; Travaux de la Société Botanique de Genève 41: 131-170.
    • Onana, J.M. (2011). The vascular plants of Cameroon a taxonomic checklist with IUCN assessments: 1-195. National herbarium of Cameroon, Yaoundé.
    • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Hedberg, I., Kelbessa, E., Edwards, S., Demissew, S. & Persson, E. (eds.) (2006). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 5: 1-690. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
    • Thulin, M. (ed.) (2006). Flora of Somalia 3: 1-626. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Gonçalves, A.E. (2005). Flora Zambesiaca 8(4): 1-124. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Miller, A.G. & Morris, M. (2004). Ethnoflora of Soqotra Archipelago: 1-759. The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
    • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14.: i-vi, 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Kress, W.J. et al. (2003). Checklist of the Trees, Shrubs, Herbs, and Climbers of Myanmar: 1-590. National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.
    • Khan, M.S. & Mia, C. (2002). Flora of Bangladesh 53: 1-48. Bangladesh National Herbarium, Dhaka.
    • Boulos, L. (2002). Flora of Egypt 3: 1-373. Al Hadara Publishing, Cairo.
    • Scott, A.J. (2000). Flore des Mascareignes 128: 1-41. IRD Éditions, MSIRI, RBG-Kew, Paris.
    • Jongbloed, M., Western, R.A. & Boer, B. (2000). Annotated Check-list for plants in the U.A.E.: 1-90. Zodiac Publishing, Dubai.
    • Gaur, R.D. (1999). Flora of the district of Garhwal north west Himalaya: 1-811. Transmedia, Srinagar, India.
    • Wood, J.R.I. (1997). A handbook of the Yemen Flora: 1-434. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) in Flora of China Editorial Committee (1994). Flora of China 17: 1-378. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).
    • Hansen, A. & Sunding, P. (1993). Flora of Macaronesia. Checklist of vascular plants. 4. revised edition Sommerfeltia 17: 1-295.
    • Audru, J., Cesar, J. & Lebrun, J.-P. (1993). Les Plantes Vasculaires de la République de Djibouti. Flore Illustrée 2(2): 433-968. CIRAD, Départerment d'Elevage et de Médecine vétérinaire, Djibouti.
    • Barry, J. P. & Celles, J.S. (1991). Flore de Mauritanie 1: 1-359. Centre Regional de Documentation Pedagogique, Nice.
    • Boudet, G., Lebrun, J.P. & Demange, R. (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali: 1-465. Etudes d'Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux.
    • Meikle, R.D. (1985). Flora of Cyprus 2: 833-1970. The Bentham-Moxon Trust Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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    • Purdie, R.W., Symon, D.E. & Haegi, L. (1982). Flora of Australia 29: 1-208. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
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    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Fl. Eth. 5: 154 (2006).
    • Fl. Somalia 3: 203 (2006)
    • F.Z. 8(4): 56 (2005)
    • Nord. J. Bot. 22(4): 388 (2002)
    • Fl. Egypt 6: 77 (1998)
    • K.T.S.L.: 583, ill., map (1994)
    • U.K.W.F. 2nd ed: 244 (1994)
    • Solanaceae III: 223 (1991)
    • Troupin, Fl. Rwanda 3 : 383 (1985), as Whithania
    • E.P.A. 2: 857 (1963)
    • F.W.T.A. 2nd ed., 2: 330 (1963)
    • K.T.S.: 538 (1961): F.F.N.R.: 377 (1962)
    • T.T.C.L.: 592 (1949)
    • W.F.K.: 89 (1948)
    • F.P.N.A. 2: 204 (1947)
    • Z.A.E.: 283 (1914)
    • F.T.A. 4, 2: 249 (1906)
    • Fl. Cap. 4(1): 107 (1904)
    • E. & P. Pf.: 19 (1895)
    • P.O.A. C: 351 (1895)
    • Engl., Hochgebirgsfl. Trop. Afr.: 374 (1892)
    • DC., Prodr. 13(1): 453 (1852)

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Plants and People Africa
    Common Names from Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com/
    © Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/