Native to the central United States, but introduced to the western states where it now is widespread in southern and central California.
Perennial weeds with foliage that dies back in the winter. Regrowth is from roots and from rhizomes, and propagation is from rhizomes and seeds.
Foliage and berries are toxic, with the ripe berries being most toxic and the foliage being the least.
Mature plants may grow to 3 feet tall, and are bushy and spreading with numerous branches. Roots and rhizomes are deep and widely spreading as well. The stems are strong and fibrous and are covered with short yellow thorns.
Leaves are lance-shaped, longer than they are wide, and covered with dense, short, grayish hairs that give the overall plant a gray or silvery color. The mid-veins of the leaves may also have a row of slender spines.
Flowers are large and colorful, the petals being a bright violet and the extruding stamens a bright, contrasting yellow. The flowers open widely to about 1 inch across. The fruit that forms is a round, dull orange or yellow berry, about ½ inch in diameter.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Perennial weeds reproducing from seeds or rhizomes.