Weed Seed: Nicandra physalodes (Apple of Peru)

Family

Solanaceae

Common Name

Apple of Peru

Regulation

Primary Noxious, Class 2 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016, 2016 under the Seeds Act.

Distribution

Canadian: Occurs in ON, QC and ephemeral in BC, NS, PE (Darbyshire 2003Footnote 1, Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 2).

Worldwide: Native to South America and widely introduced elsewhere, including North America, Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand (CABI 2016Footnote 3, USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 4). In the United States it occurs mainly in the east and midwestern regions, with a scattered occurrence in the central and western states (Kartesz 2011Footnote 5).

Duration of life cycle

Annual

Seed or fruit type

Seed

Identification features

Size

  • Seed diameter: 1.0 - 1.3 mm
  • Seed thickness: 0.3 mm

Shape

  • Seed is round to kidney-shaped, strongly compressed

Surface Texture

  • Seed is glossy; strongly reticulate with small wavy-edged cells

Colour

  • Seed is orange to brownish-orange

Other Features

  • Hilum is a small slit along the narrow edge of the seed.

Habitat and Crop Association

Cultivated fields, old fields, old gardens, roadsides and disturbed areas (Scoggan 1979Footnote 6, Gleason and Cronquist 1991Footnote 7, Darbyshire 2003Footnote 1). Infests a wide range of crops, including cereals, soybeans, beans, corn and vegetables, as well as pastures, orchards and vineyards (CABI 2016Footnote 3).

General Information

Apple of Peru is occasionally planted as an ornamental and may escape cultivation. It may also be dispersed as a contaminant in grain and birdseed (National Botanic Garden of Belgium 2013Footnote 8).

Similar species

Husk tomato (Physalis pubescens)

  • Husk tomato seeds are a similar size, round shape, with a glossy and wrinkled surface as apple of Peru.
  • Husk tomato seeds differ from apple of Peru by: lighter colour and an indistinct surface pattern. The cells of husk tomato are wavy-edged, shallow, and are pulled at the hilum and along the narrow edge. The cells of apple of Peru are deep, well-defined and appear the same across the seed.

Photos

Figure 1 - Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seeds
Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seeds
Figure 2 - Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seed
Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seed
Figure 3 - Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seed, side view
Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seed, side view

Similar species

Figure 4 - Similar species: Husk tomato (Physalis pubescens) seeds
Similar species: Husk tomato (Physalis pubescens) seeds
Figure 5 - Similar species: Husk tomato (Physalis pubescens) seed
Similar species: Husk tomato (Physalis pubescens) seed
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