Solanum francisii A.R.Bean, Austrobaileya 6: 768 (2004)
T: Qld, Eungella, 2 Sep 1938, C.T.White 12972; holo: BRI; iso: CANB, MEL
Erect, rhizomatous perennial shrub, 2.5-4 m high. Juvenile stage unknown. Adult branchlets ridged, brown; prickles 10-140 per dm, straight, acicular or broad-based, 4-10 mm long, 5-11 times longer than wide; stellae sparse, 0.15-0.25 mm diameter, sessile; lateral rays 5-7, porrect; central ray absent or present, 0-0.5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent.
Adult leaves ovate, shallowly lobed throughout; lobes 3-5 on each side, acute, lobing index 1.1-1.4; lamina 13-21 cm long, 6.5-10 cm wide, 1.9-2.4 times longer than broad, apex acute, base obtuse or cordate, oblique part 2-6 mm long, obliqueness index 1-3 percent; petioles 1.6-3.5 cm long, 11-18% length of lamina, prickles absent or present. Upper leaf surface green; prickles 50-90, straight, acicular, 4-8 mm long, prickles present on mid-vein and lateral veins; stellate hairs distributed throughout; proto-stellae absent; ordinary stellae very sparse to sparse, 0.4-3 mm apart, 0.2-0.3 mm across, sessile; lateral rays 7-9, porrect; central ray 0.2-0.7 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent. Lower leaf surface green; prickles 5-20, straight, acicular, present.
Inflorescence supra-axillary, pseudo-racemose, common peduncle 1-22 mm long, rachis prickles absent; 9-14-flowered, with all flowers bisexual and 5(6)-merous; pedicels 7-13 mm long at anthesis, same thickness throughout, 0.5-0.7 mm thick at mid-point, prickles absent or present. Calyx tube 3.5-4.5 mm long, lobes attenuate, 1.5-7 mm long; prickles absent or present at anthesis, 0-11 per flower, 3-6 mm long; stellae sparse to moderate, transparent, 0.2-0.3 mm across, sessile, lateral rays 7 or 8, central ray 0.3-1 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs present. Corolla white or mauve, 12-17 mm long, shallowly or deeply lobed, inner surface sparsely stellate-hairy; anthers c. 5.8 mm long; ovary with Type 2 hairs only; functional style c. 10 mm long, erect, with Type 2 hairs only.
Fruiting calyx with lobes less than half length of mature fruit, prickles 4-8 mm long. Mature fruits 1-8 per inflorescence, globular, 14-22 mm diameter, yellowish-green or green, 2- locular; placenta in cross-section stalked, anvil-shaped; mesocarp moist but not juicy; exocarp 1-1.4 mm thick; pedicels 16-23 mm long in fruit, 0.9-1.2 mm thick at mid-point; seeds white or pale yellow, 2-2.3 mm long.
Reproduced, with permission, from Bean, Austrobaileya 6: 768 (2004).
Another detailed description of this species by Bean can be accessed at http://delta-intkey.com/solanum/www/francisi.htm
Distribution and ecology
Known only from the Eungella area, W of Mackay, in Qld where it occurs at altitudes of 1000-1100 m in rainforest.
Closest to S. sporadotrichum but differing by
- the lack of a corky base except at the base of large plants
- larger leaves (13-21 x 6.5-10 cm for S. francisii cf. 6.5-11 x 3.5-5.5 cm for S. sporadotrichum )
- the presence of prickles and glandular hairs on the calyx, these both absent in S. sporadotrichum
- the presence of hairs on the inside of the corolla lobes, these absent in S. sporadotrichum .
It is not clear whether the earlier collections of this species by W.D.Francis in 1922 and C.T.White in 1938 were treated as part of S. sporadotrichum in earlier treatments.
Considered by Bean (2004) to be a member of the S. macoorai group of subgen. Leptostemonum.
Derivation of epithet
Named for W.D. Francis (1889–1959), the first collector of the species, author of the well known book Rainforest Trees of Australia, and a past Director of the Queensland Herbarium.
QLD: SOUTH KENNEDY DISTRICT: Eungella Range, via Mackay, Oct 1922, Francis s.n. (BRI); catchment of Mt William Creek, Eungella N.P., Dec 2002, Meyer & Bloor s.n. (BRI); Snake Road, S.F.62, NE of Eungella township, Feb 2003, Bean 20031 (BRI, MEL); Chelman’s Road, S.F.62, NE of Eungella, Feb 2003, Bean 20057 (BRI).
Specimens cited by Bean (2004).
From the web
Images of a branchlet and of the type specimen can be accessed on the web through Bean's description at http://delta-intkey.com/solanum/www/francisi.htm
Further information and links for this species can be found on the Solanaceae Source site.