Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Solanum fendleri, Fendler's Horsenettle

Fendler's Horsenettle is a somewhat showy little white to purple flower. This species blooms from late July to early October. Solanum fendleriFendler's Horsenettle is a native perennial that grows up to about 6 inches or so. The sepals or calyx on this species does not enlarge with the fruit as some other species. Solanum fendleriFendler's Horsenettle is not a desert species as it grows from 6,500 to 9,000 feet in elevation. Relatively rare in the United States where it is found in AZ, NM, TX. Solanum fendleriFendler's Horsenettle or Wild Potato is a native plant and 1 of 18 species of Solanum found in Arizona. Solanum fendleri

Scientific Name: Solanum fendleri
Common Name: Fendler's Horsenettle
Also Called: Fendler Horsenettle, Wild Potato
Family: Solanaceae, Nightshade or Potato Family
Synonyms: (Solanum stoloniferum, Solanum fendleri var. fendleri)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 6 inches or more (20").
Growth Form: Forb/herb;
Leaves: Green; alternate, pinnately compound; leaflets may be purplish beneath (abaxial).
Flower Color: White to purple; inflorescence racemose or paniculate; flowers actinomorphic.
Flowering Season: July to August (late July to early October).
Elevation: 6,500 to 9,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Rich soil in open pine forests.

Recorded Range: Solanum fendleri is relatively rare in the United States where it is found in AZ, NM, TX. It is also native to Baja California and Mexico. In Arizona it is found in the eastern and southern parts of the state and in Gila County. In New Mexico it is found in the southwest quadrant. Few or no species in Texas. Texas species are represented by Solanum fendleri var. texense, Texan Horsenettle.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Solanum fendleri.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 104 species and 131 accepted taxa overall for Solanum. World wide, The Plant List includes 1,199 accepted species names and includes a further 454 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States, Arizona there are 18 species of Solanum, in California there are 30 species, Nevada has 8 species, New Mexico has 16 species, Texas has 27 species, Utah has 11 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

There are 2 varieties in Solanum fendleri;
Solanum fendleri var. fendleri, Fendler's Horsenettle (AZ, NM, TX);
Solanum fendleri var. texense, Texan Horsenettle (TX).

Comments: In Southwest Desert Flora also see: American Black Nightshade, Solanum americanum, Silverleaf Nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium, Melon Leaf Nightshade, Solanum heterodoxum, Hinds Nightshade, Solanum hindsianum, Buffalobur Nightshade, Solanum rostratum and Purple Nightshade, Solanum xanti.

Solanum fendleri has been used for food and for building materials by southwestern indigenous peoples.
Apache, Chiricahua & Mescalero Food, Bread & Cake, Plant dried, stored, ground into flour and used to make bread.
Apache, White Mountain Fiber, Building Material, Used for thatching.
Keresan Food, Starvation Food, Raw potatoes mixed with clay or boiled with clay and eaten only in times of extreme scarcity.
Navajo Drug, Carminative, Raw tubers taken for gastric distress from hyperacidity.
Sia Food, Vegetable, Potatoes eaten raw or cooked with clay to counteract the astringency.
Zuni Food, Unspecified, Raw tubers used for food. After every mouthful of potato, a bite of white clay was taken to counteract the unpleasant astringent effect of the potato in the mouth.
See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 09/12/2016, updated format 10/06/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 09/10/2016)
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/10/2016).
Bates, Scott T., Farruggia, Frank, Gilbert, Edward, Gutierrez, Raul, Jenke, Darin, Makings, Elizabeth, Manton, Erin, Newton, Douglas and Landrum, Leslie R. Solanaceae, Part Two, Key to the genera and Solanum. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science and Canotia
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information 09/12/2016).