This section is from the book "A Manual Of Weeds", by Ada E. Georgia. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Weeds.
Introduced. Annual. Propagates by seeds.
Time of bloom: July to September.
Seed-time: Late August to November.
Range: Southern and Southwestern States; cultivated for its fruit, and freely escaping. Local farther north. Habitat: Rich soil; fields and waste places.
The fruit of this plant has a pleasant flavor, either in the fresh state or when used in catsups and sauces; birds also like the fruit and void the seeds unharmed, and in this and other ways the plant often becomes a troublesome weed.
Stem one to nearly three feet in length, much branched, at first erect but later drooped and spreading, woody at base, angled, smooth except for sparse hairiness on growing branchlets. Leaves long-ovate, pointed, coarsely wavy-toothed or entire, the base wedge-shaped and tapering to a slender petiole. Flowers solitary, springing from the side of the stem slightly above the axils; corolla bell-shaped, five-lobed, about a half-inch broad, yellow with purplish throat; stamens five, erect, with anthers separate; calyx at first short and spreading, but as the fruit begins to form it 2b elongates, becomes thin and much inflated, ten-ribbed, netted with purple veins, quite enclosing the two-celled, globular berry, the five triangular teeth meeting at the tip; often the envelope is ruptured by the swelling fruit, or "cherry," which is purplish red, nearly an inch in diameter, with a sweet and somewhat sticky pulp, in which many flattened, yellowish brown seeds are embedded.
Prevent seed development by closely cutting or pulling the plants while in early bloom.