Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Solanum nodiflorum Jacq.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves, flowers and fruit. © CSIRO
Herbarium specimen. © DERM
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Jacquin, N.J. von (1789) Collectanea 2 : 288. Type: Crescit in insula Mauritii, apud nos floret integrum annum. Lectotype: "cultivated Vienna, hb. Jacquin (Lectotype BM, not seen, photo BRI).".

Common name

Glossy Nightshade


Stems up to 1m tall, erect, widely branching, green but often purplish in strong sun, from thickened roots, mostly glabrous but with some strigose hairs on the newest growth, terete or angled, minutely winged from decurrent petiole tissue. Wings to 0.5mm broad, scabrous from strigose hairs and their enlarged bases.


Leaves petiolate, petioles 1-4 cm long, shortly pubescent. Blades typically ovate, acute, with wavy margins or a few coarse teeth (the teeth with rounded apices), 6-10 x 3-4cm, sparsely strigose above and below, deep dull green above, light green below.


Inflorescence a loose pedunculate umbel or corymb from the sides of the stem in the internodes. Peduncles 1-3 cm long, strigose, erect. Pedicels 5-10 mm long, strigose, spreading to erect in flower, nodding in fruit. Corolla 10 mm diameter, glabrous. Lobes lanceolate-triangular, 4-5 x 1.5-2 mm, hairy on the outside; corolla tube green, 1.8-2 mm long, glabrous. Stamens adnate at the apex of the corolla tube, erect, exserted. Filaments green, 1-1.3 mm long, with spreading hairs on margins. Anthers yellow, 2mm long, converging around the style. Ovary superior, green, glabrous, ovoid, 1-1.2 mm long in flower. Style green, glabrous in the apical half, hispidulous in the basal half, 2.5-4 mm long. Stigma globose-capitate.


Berries glossy black, succulent, readily shed when ripe, pedicels enlarges 4X in fruit, erect or recurved in fruit, up to 4 cm long, calyx somewhat enlarged and often reflexed. Seeds numerous, 1-1.5 mm long, compressed, testa minutely reticulate and areolate.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and NSW. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1540 m. Grows in disturbed moist areas and along tracks and roads through rainforest, mixed forest, various types of woodland and occasionally in wooded grassland.

Natural History & Notes

The overripe fruit is edible and can be used for making jam and jellies, green fruit contain many alkaloids and thus poisonous (Tull 1999).

The correct name for the taxon represented in Australia has been the subject of debate for some time. Both the names Solanum americanum and S. nodiflorum have been applied to Australian material. Manoko et al. (2007) suggests that Australian material represents S. nodiflorum.

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