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This California native is deadly but stunning

Life After Lawn: California purple nightshade is an attractive native plant that loves dry shade under oak trees.
Life After Lawn: California purple nightshade is an attractive native plant that loves dry shade under oak trees.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.

California purple nightshade

Solanum xanti “Mountain Pride”

Size: To 2 feet tall and wide.

Bloom season: Clusters of purple flowers with yellow centers in winter and spring.

Exposure: Partial sun or shade.

Pruning needs: Prune back long stems to induce branching.

Water needs: Low to none; once established, deep water once a month or not at all.

Snapshot: Found in woodlands and chaparral, this sprawling California native sub-shrub bears clusters of attractive purple flowers and furry gray leaves. It thrives in the dry shade under native oaks. Super drought-tolerant, nightshade needs little or no irrigation once established. Its one drawback: All parts of this plant are toxic to people. That toxicity also makes it highly deer resistant.

For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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