Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Nicandra physalodes (L.) Gaertn.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and flower. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Gaertner, J. (1791) De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum : 237.

Common name

Apple-of-Peru; Wild Hops


Usually flowers and fruits as a herb but also flowers as a shrub 1-2 m tall.


Leaf blades about 9-16 x 4-9 cm, margin smooth or toothed with one to several teeth on each side. Lateral veins (except the basal pairs) forming loops inside the blade margin. Stems and twigs longitudinally grooved.


Pedicels about 6-24 mm long. Calyx about 7-22 mm long, margins appressed to form longitudinal ribs. Corolla lobes about 12-30 mm long. Anther filaments about 3-3.5 mm long, densely pubescent at the base. Numerous ovules in each locule.


Fruits enclosed in the persistent, papery, calyx lobes. Seeds small, about 1.5 x 2 mm. Embryo U-shaped.


Cotyledons lanceolate, about 9-12 x 2-5 mm, petiole about 3-4 mm long. First leaves with ciliate margins and occasional teeth. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate to cordate, apex acute, base truncate or cuneate, margins usually with a few coarse teeth. Upper surface of the leaf blade and margin clothed in pale septate hairs but very few on the underside of the leaf blade. Stem longitudinally ridged or channelled.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to Victoria. An introduced species originally from Peru now widely naturalised in Australia. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 900 m. Usually grows as a weed on agricultural land but sometimes found along roads and in disturbed areas of upland rain forest particularly on basaltic soils.

Natural History & Notes

Suspected of poisoning stock. Everist (1974).

Atropa physalodes L., Sp. Pl. 1: 181(1753), Type: Peru, D. B. Jussieu, lecto, LINN 246/3.
RFK Code
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