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Ashwagandha Withania somnifera

This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Withania somnifera is a small shrub or herb grown as an annual in zones colder than 8 but in its native habitat it grows as a ground covering perennial.  The native habitats include open and disturbed areas.  It plays a similar role as ginseng in China, leading to one of its common names, Indian Ginseng.

It does well in pots and can be grown from seed planting them 2 centimeters deep once the air temperature is above 70 degrees F.  Place them in an area of your garden that gets full sun and has good draining, slightly alkaline sandy soil.  Water the plant only when the soil drys out as it does not like wet feet.  When grown from seed, it will flower and fruit in its first year.  In cooler climates it will need to be brought indoors.

Short, fine, silver/gray branched hairs cover most of the plant.  Its alternate leaves are opposite the flowering shoots.  

The leaves as well as the roots have a distinct odor.  The roots have a strong smell which as been described as having the odor of green tomatoes.  The leaves can smell similar to a horses sweat.  They are also used to produce an insect repellent.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  If eaten, this plant is toxic.  It can cause dependence and decrease effectiveness of immunosuppressant drugs.

Stem and root rot can effect this plant.

It cannot grow in the shade.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#shrub#succulent#showy fruits#herbaceous#herbaceous perennials#orange fruits#evergreen shrub#herbaceous annual#malodorous#winter fruits#wilson mg plant sale 2021
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Withania
    Species:
    somnifera
    Family:
    Solanaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    An herb used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen and nerve tonic.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, China, Africa to Sri Lanka
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, birds, and butterflies frequent this plant.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Easy to Grow
    Edibility:
    Roots are medicinal, harvest when flowers and fruits form and leaves start to dry out. Fruits can also be eaten but remove seeds first, this is best achieved by drying the fruits and crushing them.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12b, 12a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The poisonous fruits are a hairless spherical berry. They start out green and mature to orange/red. The lantern-like pods contain pea-like red/orange fruits. As the berries ripen, the clayx surrounding it shrivels. At that time, the red berries can be seen.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are inconspicuous and appear at the leaf nodes on short stalks. The flowers are pale green and are held in a olive green clayx that surrounds the berry when the flower falls away.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are simple, ovate, with entire margins that can sometimes be wavy. They are said to smell of horse sweat. The upper side of the leaves is nearly hairless, while the underside is densely hairy. There is a central vein on the leaves, the sides of the leaf fold in slightly towards the center. The leaves have a downy covering of tiny hairs, giving the leaves a gray sheen.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The erect stems are covered with tiny hairs, giving it a gray sheen.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Can cause dependence. It can decrease the effectiveness of immunosuppressant drugs.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots