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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonSolanum rostratum
Family common name(s)nightshade; night-shade; night shade; nightshades; potato
Genus common name(s)solanum; nightshade; night-shade; night shade
Species common name(s)buffalo-bur nightshade; buffalo bur nightshade; buffalobur nightshade; buffalo-burr nightshade; buffalo burr nightshade; buffaloburr nightshade; buffalo-berry nightshade; buffalo berry nightshade; buffaloberry nightshade; buffalo bitter-apple; buffalo bitter apple; Colorado bur; Colorado burr; Rocky Mountain sand burr; Rocky Mountain sand bur; beaked nightshade; beaked horse-nettle; beaked horse nettle; pincushion nightshade; Kansas-thistle; Kansas thistle; Texas nettle; Santa Fe burr; Santa Fe bur; Santa Fé burr; Santa Fé bur
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxahorned nightshade, horned night-shade, prickly nightshade, prickly potato, spiny nightshade, spiny-nightshade, yellow nightshade are applied to multiple Solanum taxa; buffalo-berry, buffalo berry, buffaloberry are more commonly applied to Shepherdia; bull nettle, sand burr, sand-burr, sandburr, sand-bur, sand bur, sandbur, buffalo-bur, buffalobur, buffalo bur, buffalo-burr, buffaloburr, buffalo burr, horse-nettle, horse nettle, horsenettle, bittersweet, bitter-sweet, Texas thistle, Mexican thistle, Spanish-thistle, Spanish thistle, hedgehog bush are applied to taxa in multiple families; buffaloberry, buffalo-berry, buffalo berry are more commonly applied to Shepherdia; bull thistle is more commonly applied to Cirsium vulgare; thistle is more commonly applied to Cirsium
NotesRocky Mountain, Kansas are proper names, so upper case preferable; Rockymountain, rockymountain are errors
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