Nightshade stars - Porcupine Tomato
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Nightshade stars – Porcupine Tomato (Solanum pyrocanthus)

Solanum pyrocanthus

Magnification: 120:1

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Nightshade stars – Star-shaped prickles, developing from furry trichomes, densely coat the leaves and stems of the Porcupine tomato. Artwork created by Martin Oeggerli (Micronaut). The picture is based on scanning-electron-microscopy technology, and all colors are manually added in post-production. It is a very slow process, comparable to painting, and can last between one and several weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the original picture.

The Porcupine Tomato, Solanum pyrocanthos, belongs to a diverse and cosmopolitan family of plants (Solanaceae) with over 1,500 members including the tomato, potato and nightshades.
The plant contains various toxic tropane alkaloids in its leaves, stem and fruit and therefore should be considered dangerous to humans. Strong and straight fluorescent orange thorns occupy the stems and leaves of the plant (not shown on image), giving it a foreboding appearance. The prickles are consistent throughout the plant, developing clearly from furry trichomes which densely coat the plant’s leaves (on both sides) and stems.