IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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This is a moderately attractive plant with light blue or lavender flowers. By the end of summer, it can become rather large and ungainly in appearance. In the southern states, the juices from the foliage and roots of this plant were mixed with milk in a dish, which was set out to attract flies. When the flies fed from this concoction, they died. This is the source of the common name, 'Shoofly Plant.' Another common name is 'Apple-of-Peru.' This refers to the area where this plant is native and its spherical fruit. However, this fruit is dry and inedible. The closest relatives of the Shoofly Plant in Illinois are probably Physalis spp. (Ground Cherries). The foliage of the Shoofly Plant resembles an oversized Ground Cherry, but its flowers are quite different. The flowers of Ground Cherries are smaller in size and dull brownish yellow, while their fruits are fleshy and edible. The fruits of both the Shoofly Plant and Ground Cherries are enclosed by the sepals of the calyx.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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