There is much confusion between this species and Solanum laciniatum. Some botanists unite the two under Solanum aviculare whilst others say that Solanum laciniatum is a tetraploid form of this species[
]. Solanum laciniatum is treated as a distinct species here.
Solanum baylisii Geras.
Solanum cheesemanii Geras.
Solanum glaberrimum Dunal
Common Name: Kangaroo Apple
Solanum aviculare is an evergreen shrub that can grow from 1 - 4 metres tall. A short-lived tree, with soft-wooded trunk and branches persisting for several years, becoming woody at the base and straggly with age[
The edible fruit is gathered from the wild for local use. A very ornamental plant[
], it has been cultivated for its edible fruit by the New Zealand Maoris[
All green parts of the plant are poisonous[
] and so is the unripe fruit[
All Solanum species contain greater or lesser quantities of spirosolane alkaloids, including solanine and solanidine. These are bitter tasting and potentially poisonous when consumed frequently[
Southeast Asia - Indonesia to Australia - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria; and New Zealand.
Coastal and lowland forest margins and shrubland on North South and Chatham Islands in New Zealand[
]. Disturbed areas in upland and mountain rain forest at elevations from 700 - 1,100 metres in Queensland[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Solanum aviculare is found from the warm temperate to usually higher elevations in the tropical zone.
Succeeds in most fertile soils in a sunny position[
A fast-growing but short-lived plant[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. It must be thoroughly ripe because the unripe fruit is poisonous[
]. It can be used as a sweet fruit or as a vegetable[
]. Best harvested once it has fallen from the plant, the fruit will then have lost its unpleasant acidity[
]. It tastes much worse than it looks, the fruit is sickly sweet and often bitter[
]. The quality varies from plant to plant and even from year to year from the same plant[
]. The fruit is up to 2cm long and contains a large number of flat seeds[
The leaves are used for poultices[
A source of steroids, much used in the pharmaceutical industry. The unripe berries are the richest source[
The plant is often used as a hedge[
Used as a rootstock for the tree tomato (Cyphomandra betacea)[
Seed - germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood. Very easy, the cuttings root within a couple of weeks.
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