Apple of Peru
New Zealand Status: Introduced
Conservation Status: n/a
Nicandra is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family containing only one species Nicandra physalodes. It is commonly known as Apple-of-Peru or Shoo-fly plant and is probably poisonous.
Plants grow vigorously and reach 1 metre tall with spreading branches. The leaves are ovate, mid-green, with toothed and waved margins. The flowers are bell-shaped, about 50mm in diameter, pale violet with white throats (occasionally pure white) and open for only a few hours a day. Flowers become lantern shaped as they near the end of their blooming period. The fruiting calyx is deeply lobed. It has brown berries, 10-20mm across, in a five sided net-viened, fruit capsule similar to a Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana).
Nicandra physalodes is a weed of crop lands throughout the world in temperate and tropic zones.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader