Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Devil's fig (444)

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  • Widespread. Africa, Asia, North (Hawaii), South and Central America, Caribbean, Europe, Oceania. In most Pacific islands
  • Invasive, large amounts of seeds, easily spread, drought tolerant, ability to displace local vegetation, forming dense thickets at forest margins, waterways, plantation crops, roadsides, pastures, disturbed sites and waste areas.
  • Small shrub/tree, up to 4 m. Young stems, green/purplish, soft, with small star-shaped hairs, and spines; later, brown/greenish-brown lacking hairs. Leaves, up to 25 cm long, deeply lobed when young, roughly oval when old, with spines. Flowers, star-shaped, five white petals, in clusters of 15-100 at the end of stems. Fruits (berries) with  few to many flat, woody, often reddish seeds.
  • Spread: seeds by birds and bats; water; soil, trash; seed traded on internet, contamination of traded plants.
  • Biosecurity: high risk of introduction, showy flowers, used as root stock. Available on internet.
  • Biocontrol: a chrysomelid beetle in Caribbean but confirmation of suitability needed.
  • Cultural control: dig out (gloves!), removing crown; plough, check for regrowth.
  • Chemical control: in Australia: picloram + 2,4-D (cut back and spray regrowth). In PNG: 2,4-D in diesoline (petrol with addition of 15% diesel) to treat stumps. Cut 10-15 cm above ground level. In Fiji, glyphosate.
Common Name

Devil's fig; it is also known as prickly Solanum, or wild tomato. CABI prefers the name turkey berry.

Scientific Name

Solanum torvum. It was known previously as Solanum largiflorum. It is a member of the Solanaceae.

AUTHORS Grahame Jackson, Aradhana Deesh & Mani Mua
Adapted from Devil's fig (Solanum torvum) (2018) Weeds of SE Qld and Northern NSW. Lucidcentral. (; and additional information from CABI (2019) Solanum torvum (turkey berry). Invasive Species Compendium (; and from Waterhouse & DF, Norris KR (1987) Solanum torvum Swartz. Biological Control Pacific Prospects. Inkata Press, Melbourne. Photos 2,4,6&8 Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland, in association with the Pacific Community and Koronivia Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji.

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