Thorn apple – one of the poisonous flowering plant in nightshade family was seen growing along the banks of Ghaggar river in Panchkula district of Haryana (India). It commonly grows as a weed in waste lands along roadside and railway lines. It has trumpet shaped flowers and a spiny capsular fruit with numerous seeds. The plant contains potent alkaloids of pharmaceutical importance.
Mature flowers were seen to bear fused sepals forming a tubular structure and petals forming a trumpet. The stamens were very long and the carpel too had a long style.
The plant had some floral buds which were also split open to find many features earlier unknown to me. The buds had a green capsular thing which was the calyx and on opening it young green petals were revealed. The petals had stamens within with long anthers. I teased the anthers thinking these were too young and will be having either tetrads or pollen mother cells. But these were found to have mature pollen in them and the anthers found on long filaments in mature flowers were found to be empty.
The long filaments were found adherent to the petals at the lower edge and many pointed multi-cellular trichomes were found along the sides of the filaments.
As reported in literature, it is pollinated by moths. A portion of the petal seen under the foldscope showed presence of pollen in the lower portion of the flower. I had the opinion that trichomes are protective in function, but in the images captured it was seen that they aid in pollen germination perhaps. The trichomes seen were pointed in one direction.
A transverse section of the ovary was also observed under the foldscope, but only ppartially because of its large size and numerous ovules could be seen.