Apple of Peru

Nicandra physalodes

Apple of Peru, Nicandra physalodes, from Kitale, Rift Valley, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed in a farming area of Kitale, Rift Valley, Kenya, Africa. December 2012.

fruit of Nicandra physalodes, photo © Michael Plagens

Other common names for this herbaceous weed include Shoo-Fly Plant and Chinese Lantern. This weed of agricultural lands originated in South America but has been widely distributed through accidental and intentional introductions. It is common in mild, temperate regions in Kenya. Most plants are about one to two meters tall with several to many branches. There are no thorns, unlike many weedy nightshades. The developing fruit is enclosed by the five, concave sepals resulting in a curious lantern shape. Purportedly this plant has insect repellant properties, but whiteflies are nonetheless able to feed on it.

whitefly on Nicandra from Kitale, Kenya, Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Solanaceae -- Nightshade Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 11 October 2012,
updated 5 Aug. 2015.