Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Solanum aviculare G.Forst.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Habit, leaves and flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Forster, G. (1786) De Plantis Esculentis insularum oceani australis botanica : 42. Type: Queen Charlotte Sound, lecto: BM. Fide G. T. S. Baylis (1954) Trans. Roy. Soc. New Zealand 82: 641.

Common name

Nightshade; Apple, Kangaroo; Kangaroo Apple


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-4 m tall.


Leaves +/- glabrous, rather variable, either entire or lobed, both leaf types quite large. Simple leaf blades about 8-20 x 1.5-5.5 cm. Lobed leaf blades about 12-25 x 7-23 cm. Petioles about 1-4 cm long. Leaf bearing twigs glabrous. Stems and twigs unarmed.


Inflorescence up to 10-flowered. Pedicels about 15-20 mm long. Calyx about 5-6 mm long, lobes triangular, about 1.5-3 mm long. Corolla about 25-40 mm diam. Anthers yellow, about 3.5-4.5 mm long. Pollen white.


Fruits ovoid to ellipsoid, about 10-15 mm diam., calyx persistent at the base. Seeds pale brown, numerous, about 1-1.5 mm long, testa reticulate on the outer surface. Embryo +/- U-shaped, cotyledons about as wide as the radicle.


Cotyledons lanceolate, about 4-6 x 1.5-2 mm. First pair of leaves +/- spathulate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf margin coarsely lobed, leaves +/- glabrous. Petiole narrowly winged. Terminal buds and stem glabrous. Stem, petiole and midrib purplish in colour. Seed germination time 12 to 53 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards to Victoria. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 700-1100 m. Grows in disturbed areas in upland and mountain rain forest. Also occurs in New Guinea, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

Natural History & Notes

May be poisonous to stock. Everist (1974).

This species is used to obtain the steroid solasodine. Cribb (1981).

Solanum aviculare G.Forst. var. aviculare, The Victorian Naturalist 24: 59(1907). Solanum brisbanense (Herasim.) Herasim., Novitates Systematicae Plantarum Vascularium (Leningrad) 7 : 273(1971), Type: Cultivated Moscow from seed ex Brisbane; holo: LE.
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