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Native in North America, Mexico, Central and South America, it has spread to tropical and temperate regions throughout the world. It is a short-lived, rough-stemmed herbaceous plant or small shrub, growing in an erect manner to four feet or more in height. It is known to bloom throughout the year depending on conditions. It has small star-shaped flowers that grow in small clusters at the forks of upper leaves, each flower with five white petals and five yellow stamens. The flowers are followed by green, round berries that ripen to become shiny and black. Its leaves are (mostly) hairless, either smooth-edged or edged with large, rounded teeth.