What is the plant
Solanum erianthum is a species of nightshade that is native to southern North America and northern South America.It has been introduced to other parts of the world and has a nearly pantropical distribution. Common names include potatotree, mullein nightshade (that may also refer to S. donianum), velvet nightshade, and salvadora. The potatoes are not the fruits of the trees, they are the leaves.
Potatotree is a fast-growing evergreen shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 2–8 m (6.6–26.2 ft). The grey or brown bark is smooth-lenticellate and the trunk is 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) thick. The crown is flat-topped and spreading. Although the wood is soft and brittle, the limbs are strong enough to support birds such as chachalacas. The simple leaves are alternate, ovate or elliptic, and 12–37 cm (4.7–14.6 in) long. Flowers are in lateral cymes and are 1.1–1.8 cm (0.43–0.71 in) in diameter. The five-lobed corolla is white and the five stamens have yellow anthers. The fruit is a yellow berry 1–1.2 cm (0.39–0.47 in) in diameter with many seeds. The specific epithet, erianthum, is derived from the Greek words ἔριον (erion), meaning "wooly", and ἄνθος (anthos), meaning "flower," referring to the dense trichomes (hairs) on the flowers.Other parts of the plant are also covered in trichomes, including the berries, leaves, stem tips, and petioles. Broken roots smell like cooked potatoes, while trichomes on the leaves, stems, and petioles release an odor similar to tar when rubbed.
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