Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Solanum francisii A.R.Bean

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Herbarium sheet. CC-BY: BRI
Herbarium sheet: flowers. CC-BY: BRI.
Herbarium sheet: leaves and fruit. CC-BY: BRI.

Bean, A.R. (2004), The taxonomy and ecology of Solanum subg. Leptostemonum (Dunal) Bitter (Solanaceae) in Queensland and far north-eastern New South Wales, Australia. Austrobaileya 6(4): 768-770. Type: Queensland. South Kennedy District: Eungella, 2 September 1938, C.T. White 12972 (holo: BRI; iso: CANB, MEL).


Shrub 2.5-4 m tall. Branchlets ridged, brown or green with straight, needle shaped or broad-based prickles, 4-10 mm long, 5-11 times longer than wide. Prickles10-140 per decimetre (10 cm). Branchlet hairs stellate.


Adult leaves alternate, simple. Stipules absent. Petioles 1.6-6 cm long. Leaf blade ovate, 13-25 cm long, 6.5-10 cm wide, base obtuse or cordate, oblique, margin shallowly lobed throughout, lobes 3-5 on each side, acute or obtuse; apex acute. Petioles and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blades with an indumentum of stellate hairs, and prickles, prickles straight, acicular, 4-8 mm long. Upper and lower leaf surface without simple hairs absent or short gland-tipped hairs.


Inflorescences supra-axillary and pseudo-racemose, with 9-14 bisexual flowers. Pedicels 7-13 mm long with or without prickles. Calyx tube 3.5-4.5 mm long, lobes 1.5-7 mm long,  prickles absent or present, 0-11 per flower, 3-6 mm long. Calyx with very sparse to sparse to moderate stellate hairs and short gland tipped hairs present, simple hairs absent. Corolla white or mauve, 12-17 mm long, shallowly lobed or deeply lobed, inner surface sparsely stellate-hairy. Anthers c. 5.8 mm long. Ovary with short gland tipped hairs present. Functional style c. 10 mm long, protruding between anthers, with only short gland tipped hairs present.


Fruits globular, about 14-22 mm diam., calyx persistent at the base for less than half length of mature fruit; prickles 4-8 mm long. Mature fruit yellowish-green or green. Seeds white or pale yellow about 2-2.3 mm long. Embryo not seen.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to CEQ where it is only known from the Eungella area, W of Mackay. Found growing in notophyll rainforest at altitudes of 1000-1100 m.

Natural History & Notes

This species is similar to Solanum sporadotrichum but is distinguished by the lack of a corky base,except at the base of large plants, the larger leaves (13-21 x 6.5-10 cm for Solanum francisii cf. 6.5-11 x 3.5-5.5 cm for S. sporadotrichum ); the presence of prickles and glandular hairs on the calyx, these both absent in S. sporadotrichum and the presence of hairs on the inside of the corolla lobes, these absent in S. sporadotrichum.

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