Solanum ashbyae Symon, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4: 223; figs 95, 97 (1981)
T: 120 km N of Meekatharra, W.A., 15 May 1975, D.E. Symon 9983; holo: PERTH; iso: AD ex ADW, CANB, K.
Shrub to 2 m, densely pubescent with glandular-stellate hairs, yellowish-green, rarely grey-green, the stems and young leaves yellowish; prickles to 5 mm long, abundant on stems, sparse elsewhere.
Leaves ovate-elliptic; lamina 5–8 cm long, 4–5.5 cm wide, sometimes larger, concolorous, entire; petiole 2–4 cm long.
Inflorescence up to 12–flowered, several lower flowers bisexual, the upper flowers male; peduncle 3–4 cm long; rachis 2–3 cm long. Bisexual flowers: pedicel to 15 mm long; calyx 8–13 mm long, enlarged in fruit, the lobes lanceolate, unequal, 4–10 mm long; corolla broadly stellate to rotate, 25–40 mm diam., purple; anthers 7–8 mm long. Male flowers similar: corolla to 30 mm diam.; anthers 5–7 mm long; ovary, style and stigma rudimentary.
Berry ovoid to globular, occasionally slightly conical, c. 15 mm diam., pale bright green when ripe, drying brown; fruiting calyx 15–18 mm long. Seeds 2 mm long, light brown. n=12.
Distribution and ecology
Restricted to inland central-western W.A., occurring in deep red sand and on the margins of granite slopes.
Considered by Bean (2004) to be a member of the S. lasiophyllum group of subgen. Leptostemonum.
S. ashbyae was one of the shrubs observed in the study cited below and was found to be adversely effected by high sheep stocking rates. It is eaten by sheep.
Reference: Davies SJJF, Walsh TFM (1976) Observations on the regeneration of shrubs and woody forbs over a ten year period in grazed quadrats on Mileura Station, Western Australia.The Australian Rangeland Journal 1: 215–224.
Derivation of epithet
Named for Miss Alison Ashby (1901-1987), collector and illustrator of Australian plants.
W.A.: 22 km S of Gascoyne River South, D.E. Symon 9991 (AD); near Laverton, J.Z. Weber 4815 (AD); Von Treuer Tableland, P.G. Wilson 7426 (PERTH).
From the web
Further information and a photograph for this species in WA can be found on the FloraBase site.