Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Solanum discolor R.Br.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 445. Type: Queensland, Coen River, Gulf of Carpentaria, 6 nov. 1802, R. Brown s.n.; Lecto: BM Fide D. E. Symon J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4:140 (1981).

Common name

Straggling Nightshade; Nightshade; Nightshade, Straggling


Shrub about 0.5-2 m tall; rhizomatous.


Twigs usually armed with straight spines 2-6 mm long, petioles and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blades often similarly armed. Shoots and twigs clothed in pale brown stellate hairs. Stellate hairs dense on the underside of the leaf blades but the upper surface usually +/- glabrous. Leaves entire or shallowly lobed. Leaf blades about 7-10 x 1.6-4.5 cm, petioles about 0.4--0.9 cm long. Leaves often produced in pairs but both leaves appear to be on the same side of the twig.


Inflorescence not strictly axillary but +/- leaf opposed; 7-20 flowered. Pedicels about 2-9-mm long, prickes absent. Calyx tube about 0.5-1.5 mm long, lobes about 0.5-2 mm long; calyx stellate hairy on the outer surface. Corolla about 15-20 mm diam., 7-9 mm long, stellate hairy on the outer surface. Calyx and corolla reflexed at anthesis. Anthers about 2.5-4 mm long. Style with stellate hairs. Stigma globular, green, no wider than the style.


Fruits globular, about 10-14 mm diam. Fruiting calyx with lobes less than half length of mature fruit, prickles absent. Seeds flattened, about 3-4 mm long.


Cotyledons lanceolate, about 10-16 x 5-7 mm, hairy on the upper surface. Hypocotyl hairy, hairs simple, gland-tipped. Stem above the cotyledons clothed in stellate hairs. First pair of leaves alternate, both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade stellate hairy but simple gland-tipped hairs also present. At the tenth leaf stage: stem, petioles and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade armed with straight spines about 5-10 mm long. Stem, petiole and leaf blade undersurface clothed in stellate hairs. Leaf blade upper surface +/- glabrous.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to CYP. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 550 m. Grows as an understory plant in disturbed rain forest and monsoon forest.

Solanum discolor R.Br. var. discolor, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 55: 71(1944). Solanum defensum F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 193(1865), Type: Queensland, Cape York. E. Daemel s.n.; holo: MEL; iso: BM.
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