Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Solanum pseudocapsicum L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Fruit and flower. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 2: 184. Type: Madeira; holo: LINN 248.4. Fide W. G. DArcy, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 60: 714 (1973).

Common name

False Capsicum; Nightshade; Jerusalem Cherry; Cherry, Madeira Winter; Cherry, Jerusalem; Capsicum, False; Madeira Winter Cherry


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1 m tall but also flowers when smaller.


Plant unarmed, twigs, petioles and leaves glabrous. Leaf blades about 4-10 x 1-3 cm, petioles about 0.2-1.5 cm long. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin.


Inflorescence short, 1-several-flowered. Pedicels about 1 cm long. Calyx about 4-5 mm long, lobes about 2-3 mm long. Corolla about 10-15 mm diam. Anthers orange. Pollen white. Ovary and style pale green, glabrous, ovules numerous.


Fruits globular, about 10-15 mm diam., calyx lobes persistent at the base. Seeds about 3-4 mm long. Embryo +/- coiled, cotyledons no wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons +/- linear, about 12-15 x 4-5 mm. First pair of leaves alternate, almost rhomboid, petioles quite long. At the tenth leaf stage: stem clothed in short, pale, 2-branched hairs with each branch recurved. Petiole and leaf blade +/- glabrous. Leaves emit an obnoxious odour when crushed. Petiole winged or the leaf blade decurrent. Seed germination time 10 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species of uncertain origin, now naturalised in NEQ and various places to the south including south-eastern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and southern Western Australia. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 650-800 m. Usually grows on farmland but also found on rain forest margins and in disturbed areas in rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Field evidence of toxicity is rather vague and contradictory. Everist (1974).

All plant parts poisonous. Austin, D. F. 1998. Poisonous Plants of Southern Florida.

Poisonous to pets.

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