Herbs, to 30 cm tall, rhizomatous, densely glandular-pubescent, the glandular hairs mixed with longer, simple hairs (especially on the stems, peduncles, and calices).LEAVES lanceolate, elliptic, oblanceolate, or rhombic, 1–4 cm long, the margins mostly entire or subentire, sometimes shallowly lobed or toothed, membranous to subcoriaceous; apex acute to rounded, tapering to an attenuate, subsessile base.INFLORESCENCES uniflorous, the peduncles 1–3 cm long.FLOWERS with calyx 3–5 mm long, densely glandular-pubescent; corolla ca. 1 cm wide or less, the white cushion-like pads not contiguous and not filling the throat; stamens less than 6 mm long; anthers 1/2—1/3 as long as filaments.FRUITS 4–8 mm wide, whitish, pendulous; seeds light brown, alveolate.––Found in disturbed areas and deserts; Cochise, Gila, Graham, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, Yuma cos; 700–1700 m (2300–5600 ft); Mar–Oct; sw U.S. and n Mex.
SEINET 2009, Niehaus et al. 1984, Manton 2012, Correll and Johnston 1970
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb, 30 cm tall, from rhizomes; stems branching primarily at the base; herbage covered with dense glandular hairs mixed with longer, simple hairs. Leaves: Alternate and subsessile along the stems; blades lanceolate, elliptic, or rhombic, 1-4 cm long, the margins mostly entire or subentire, or sometimes shallowly lobed or toothed. Flowers: Cream-yellow and somewhat showy, on slender pedicels 1-3 cm long from the leaf axils; calyx 5-lobed and bell-shaped, 3-5 mm long, densely glandular-pubescent; corolla flat and circular (rotate), 1 cm wide or less, cream-yellow with a dark center that looks like an eye. Fruits: Berries 4-8 mm diameter, whitish, pendulous, closely wrapped by the persistent calyx; containing light brown, flat kidney-shaped seeds. Ecology: Found in disturbed sites and scrubby desert slopes and flats, often in gravelly soils, from 2,000-6,000 ft (610-1829 m); flowers March-October. Distribution: s AZ, s NM, TX; south to n MEX. Notes: Chamaesaracha spp. are perennial herbs of the nightshade family; the flowers strongly resemble tomato and tomatillo flowers, with flat, rounded 5-pointed corollas. A distinguishing trait of this genus is the calyx, which enlarges substantially in fruit to wrap around the berry. Physalis (the tomatillo genus) also has this trait, but in Physalis the calyx is papery, bladdery, and much larger than the berry. In Chamaesaracha the calyx remains herbaceous and wraps tightly around the berry. C. sordida is distinguished from others in the genus by the copious sticky glandular hairs covering the stems and leaves, which cause dirt to stick to the plant; and the leaf margins, which are smooth (entire) or have extremely shallow lobes. C. coronopus lacks glandular hairs and has pinnately lobed leaves. C. conoides has some glandular hairs but its leaves have pinnate, often irregular lobes. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Chamaesaracha comes from the Greek word chamai, dwarf or false, and the genus Saracha which it resembles and is also in the nightshade family (Solanaceae); sordida means dirty-looking, because the glandular pubescence on the leaves is sticky and attracts dirt. Synonyms: Withania sordida Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017