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Branching perennial 1-3 ft tall. Small needlelike prickles on stem, sometimes on leaves. Blue to purple flowers spring to fall, rarely white. Narrow leaves are silvery or grey green with white hairs covering them. Yellow to black berries. The bloom in this photo was damaged so was more of a square than a star.
Dry, barren ground in part sun.
The ripe berries are more toxic than the unripe fruit. A few ounces can cause severe poisoning or death in livestock or humans, but in spite of their toxicity they were used by Native Americans for rennet in making cheese. The unripe fruit or whole plant can be used to dye wool.