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Photo: D.E. Symon D.E. Symon

Line drawing by M. Szent Ivany, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4 (1981) 200, fig. 81.

Sketch of fruits by D. E. Symon, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4 (1981), fig. 153C .

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Synonymy

Solanum lucani F. Muell., Victorian Naturalist 9: 175 (1893). See notes below for spelling of epithet and access to protologue.

T: Cambridge Gulf, 1889, A. Lucanus s.n.; lecto: MEL 11346; iso: K; fide D.E. Symon, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4: 199 (1981).

[S. pubescens auct. non Willd.: W.V. Fitzgerald, J. Roy. Soc. W. Austral. 3: 102 (1918)]

Description

Sprawling, probably annual herb to 30 cm high, c. 1 m wide, green or purple-green, pubescent with stellate hairs; prickles to 8 mm long, abundant on stems, peduncles and calyx, less common elsewhere.  

Leaves ovate; lamina 5–10 cm long, 3–6 cm wide, sometimes larger, discolorous, entire or shallowly lobed; hairs sparse on upper surface, dense on lower surface; petiole 3–5 cm long.  

Inflorescence 6–15–flowered; peduncle 2–5 cm long, lengthening in fruit; rachis 5–10 cm long; pedicels 5–13 mm long. Calyx mostly 3–4 mm long; lobes more or less triangular, 1–2 mm long; tube enlarged in fruit. Corolla rotate, 20–25 mm diam., purple. Anthers 4–5 mm long.  

Berry globular, 10–15 mm diam., green when ripe; fruiting peduncle and axis 4–17 cm long; fruiting calyx 10–15 mm diam. Seeds 1.5 mm long, dark brown. n=12.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in the Pilbara and the Kimberley region, W.A., to Willeroo Stn, N.T., usually in disturbed areas such as sand-bars and levees of rivers. Occasionally associated with gravelly washes of rocky outcrops.

Relationships

Part of the S. echinatum group, along with S. echinatum and S. longissimum, of subgen. Leptostemonum according to Bean (2004).

Notes

A copy of Mueller’s original description of the species can be seen at http://bibdigital.rjb.csic.es/Imagenes/P0027_54/P0027_54_122.pdf

As the name Lucan is already in Latin form the correct genitive form is lucani  - see www.chah.gov.au/chah/apc/interim/Solanaceae.pdf

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Derivation of epithet

Named after August Lucanus (1848-1941), collector of the type specimen. In the year of the protologue he was working in the Kimberleys as a special constable with the Wyndham police.

For a biography of Lucanus see C.Clement & P.Bridge (eds) (1991). Kimberley Scenes. Sagas of Australia's last frontier. (Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, W.A.).

Selected specimens

W.A.: 21 km N of Halls Creek, D.E. Symon 5268 (CANB, PERTH). N.T.: 47 km NNW of Inverway Homestead, P.K. Latz 5412 (AD, NT, PERTH); 182 km W of Katherine, J. Must 1242 (DNA, NT).

Plant status, if any

Conservation status as a plant of least concern in theNorthern Territorysee www.nt.gov.au/nreta/wildlife/animals/native/pdf/plants_lcs-z.pdf

From the web

A collection of images of S. lucani can be seen on the FloraBase site.

There is presently limited information for this species on the Solanaceae Source site.