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Parish's Nightshade Back to Plant Page
Solanum parishii

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About Parish's Nightshade (Solanum parishii) Parish's Nightshade (Solanum parishii) is a native shrub in the Solanaceae (Nightshade) family that grows in primarily in two disjunct regions, the mountains and valleys of northern California and the chaparral of southernmost California. It occurs from sea level up to elevations of 6,000 feet. A closely related species is Solanum xanti, and their ranges overlap in the southern counties. There are also several non-native species of Solanum that look very similar. Some are sold under the common name Potato Plant. The flowers of Solanum parishii are small but attractive. As with many other members of this family, the plant is poisonous to humans and some other animals, especially the fruits. Be cautious in using it where children or pets may have access. Due to the poisonous nature of many nightshades, tomatoes (also a member of the Solanaceae) were thought to be equally toxic by many North Americans as late as the early eighteenth century.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
3.3 ft (1 m)

Max. Width
1 - 5 ft (0.3 - 1.5 m)

Fragrant - Pleasant

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
In its northern range it is found in rugged, forested, mountainous areas. In its southern range it occurs as part of the xeric chaparral community from the immediate coast to the foothills and higher mountains.

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
0' - 7466'

Annual Precip. ?
9.5" - 153.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 5.92"

Coldest Month ?
33.7° F - 56.4° F

Hottest Month ?
54.7° F - 80.3° F

Humidity ?
0.20 vpd - 28.85 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a wide variety of soils including clay, sand, loam and decomposed granite

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 5° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
In northern California: Use with woodland species such as Maple (Acer sp.), Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.), Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.), Pipevine (Aristolochia californica), Spice Bush (Calycanthus occidentalis), Bush Anemone (Carpenteria californica), Ceanothus sp., Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), Pine (Pinus sp.), and Oak (Quercus sp.)

In southern California: Use with chaparral species such as Manzanita (Arctostaphylos or Xylococcus sp.), Ceanothus sp., Dudleya sp., Brittlebush (Encelia californica), Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), Scrub Oak (Quercus berberiidifolia or dumosa), Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia), Sage (Salvia sp.), Yucca (Hesperoyucca and Yucca sp.) and various cactus species

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous insects are attracted to Solanum flowers. Various birds and small mammals are attracted to the fruits.

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Common uses
Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Common Names
Potato Plant

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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