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Maroochy, Qld. Photo: G. Leiper G. Leiper

Upper leaf surface (LHS) with simple hairs, lower surface glabrous. Maroochy, Qld. Photo: G. Leiper G. Leiper

Line drawing by M. Szent Ivany, J. Adelaide Bot. Gards 4 (1981) 102, fig. 29.

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Synonymy

 * Solanum capsicoides All., Auct. Syn. 12 (1773) 

T: Described from material cultivated at Turin, origin unknown; ? TO, n.v.

 S. aculeatissimum Jacq., Collectanea 1: 100 (1787), & Icon. Pl. Rar. 1: t. 41 (1786) 

T: Jacquin s.n.; W, n.v., fide W.G. D'Arcy, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 60: 711 (1973).

Description

Annual or short-lived perennial shrub to 1 m, green, sparsely pilose with long simple and minute glandular hairs; prickles to 12 mm long, scattered to common on most parts.  

Leaves broadly ovate, the lamina up to 15 cm long and wide, but usually smaller, concolorous, lobed; petiole to 8 cm long.  

Flowers 1-3; peduncle 2-4 mm long; pedicels 10-25 mm long. Calyx 4-6 mm long; lobes lanceolate, 2-3 mm long. Corolla stellate, deeply incised, 20-30 mm diam., white. Anthers 5-7 mm long.  

Berry depressed globular, 20-35 mm diam., bright orange-scarlet, flesh white. Seeds 4-6 mm diam., pale yellowish or light brown, winged. n=12.

Distribution and ecology

Originally from tropical Central America, now widespread in warmer regions of the world. Possibly originally grown as ornamental in Australia; now naturalised in high rainfall, near-coastal areas of Qld and N.S.W.

Common in disturbed areas in clearings, along creek-lines and forest margins.

Common name

Devil's Apple

Relationships

Despite being a member of subgenus Leptostemonum, usually characterised by stellate hairs and prickles, S. capsicoides lacks any stellate hairs; it does have simple and glandular hairs.

S. capsicoides is part of the S. mammosum group of subgen. Leptostemonum (Whalen 1984).

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Notes

An illustration can be found in Welman, W.G. (2003). The genus Solanum (Solanaceae) in southern Africa: subgenus Leptostemonum, the introduced sections Acanthophora and Torva. Bothalia 33: 6, fig. 3B.

Selected specimens

Qld: Mt Mellum, 1967, S.L. Everist (BRI, CANB); near Nambour, J.M. Swan 61 (ADW). N.S.W.: Byron Bay - Ballina area, R. Coveny 9384 (AD, BRI, NSW).

From the web

An image of the leaf and mature fruit of S. capsicoides can be seen on the Bean interactive key site at http://delta-intkey.com/solanum/images/solcapsic001.jpg

A photograph of the fruit and leaves of this species by Hugh & Nan Nicholson can be seen on the Terania Rainforest Publishing Photo Library site.

S. capsicoides as a weed in the Pacific is treated on the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) site.

Further information and links for this species can be found on the Solanaceae Source site.