Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Solanaceae
Solanum ellipticum

Citation: R. Br., Prod. Fl. Nov. Holl. 446 (1810).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Velvet potato bush, potato bush.

A sprawling clonal perennial herb 15 cm to 1 m diam., woody at the base but stems not lasting more than a few years; all parts pubescent with pale dense stellate hairs, somewhat floccose on the stems and undersides of leaves, general aspect pale- or grey-green; leaves slightly discolorous, growing tips often tinged purple; prickles to 1 cm, unequal, fine, straight, pale or dark, scattered or abundant on stems, petioles and peduncles, sparse or absent on upper and lower leaf surfaces and calyx; leaves variable in size may be quite large on vigorous growths, 3-10 x 2-3 rarely to 5 cm, ovate to elliptic, entire or with an undulate repand margin, apex acute to acuminate; base cuneate to subcordate, oblique; petiole 1-5 cm long.

Inflorescence a cyme of 1-6 flowers from an extra-axillary position; peduncle 1-8 cm long; pedicels to 1 cm long; calyx tube 3-4 mm long; lobes triangular, acumens linear, together c. 1 cm; corolla 2-3 cm diam., rotate to rotate-pentagonal, purple; filaments short; anthers c. 4 mm long, oblong, stout; ovary glabrous; style c. 8 mm long, hooked; stigma slightly 2-lobed.

Fruiting peduncles 1-8 cm long; pedicels 1.5-2 cm long, slightly thickened upwards, usually deflexed; calyx covering the base of the fruit, lobes broadly triangular, acumens sometimes equalling the fruit; berry 1.5-2cm diam., globular or slightly obovoid, finally a pale yellowish-green, often with a tinge of purple, slightly translucent when ripe; seeds 2-2.5 mm long, pale.

image of FSA3_Solanum_ell.jpg Flowering and fruiting branch and a fruit.
Image source: fig. 574E in Jessop J.P. & Toelken H.R. (Ed.) 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

Published illustration: Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 592.

Distribution:    W.Aust.; N.T.; Qld; N.S.W.

Conservation status: native

Flowering time: most of the year with a peak in Aug. — Sept.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: No text

Taxonomic notes: A widespread variable species and three principal forms may be recognised: (1) a prickly form associated with rock outcrops in central Australia; (2) a small-leaved more slender form from upper Eyre Peninsula and extending to the Nullarbor Plain; (3) the typical form moderately prickly, relatively large-leaved, widespread in drier Australia.

Author: Not yet available

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water