Plant Profiles Index > Nicandra physalodes

A member of the Solanaceae family, the shoofly plant is shaped similar to datura. The shoofly plant has coarse leaves, bright green and rough. It has small pale, violet blue flowers which, though bell-shaped, face upwards. It forms marble-sized inflated seedpods shrouded with a papery calyx that look very much like tomatillos.

I bought seeds for the shoofly plant a couple of years ago. I was not won over by it as I thought it looked coarse, the leaves were quickly bug-eaten, and the flowers were small and not very showy. However, I've read that in New England the plant can get to four feet tall and is covered with flowers. So when one plant came up on its own this year, I decided to give it another chance and nurture it.

So far the plant is about two feet tall and just starting, in late May, to flower. The bugs seem to prefer it to a datura that is growing right next to it. As the temperatures approach 90, it wilts in the midday sun. So I'm betting that to thrive and bloom in the South, it is going to require a lot of water.

photo: Nicandra physalodes Nicandra physalodes 2002-05-21 Austin, TX
photo: Nicandra physalodes Nicandra physalodes 2002-05-25 Austin, TX