Species and characteristics
Species of subg. Archaeosolanum are usually known as Kangaroo Apples.
There are 8 species, found only in New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. They are united by their
- base chromosome number of 23, compared with 12 for all of the rest of the species of Solanum,
- their production of high levels of alkaloids in the leaves,
- their lack of prickles
- their lack of hairs (while usually glabrous they do sometimes have minute simple or glandular hairs, but never stellate hairs)
- their large and usually deeply-lobed leaves, particularly in the juvenile foliage
- the presence of large and abundant stone-cells in the fruit - these also occur in some of the S. nigrum group of species but they are not usually as large or as plentiful
Species of this group in Australia are S. aviculare, S. capsiciforme, S. laciniatum, S. linearifolium, S. simile, S. symonii and S. vescum. The 8th species, S. multivenosum, is found in the highlands of New Guinea.
For a treatment of the group as a whole see D.E.Symon (1994). Kangaroo Apples. Solanum sect. Archaeosolanum. (D.E.Symon: State Herbarium of South Australia).