Solanum aviculare G. Forster, Pl. Esc. 42 (1786)
T: Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand; lecto: BM, fide G.T.S. Baylis, Trans. Roy. Soc. New Zealand 82: 641 (1954). Images of the Forster collections in W can be seen on the Solanaceae Source site.
S. aviculare var. typicum Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 574 (1928), nom. illeg.
S. brisbanense (Herasim.) Herasim., Nov. Syst. Pl. Vasc. Leningrad 7: 273 (1970); S. aviculare var. brisbanense Herasim., Bjull. Glavn. Bot. Sada 59: 72 (1965).
T: cultivated in Moscow area from seed from Brisbane; ?LE, n.v.
Erect shrub to 4 m, dark green, glabrous except for glandular and minute, simple, non-glandular hairs on young growing points and corolla apices; stems angular with raised lines; prickles absent.
Lobed leaves broadly elliptic to obovate; lamina 15-30 cm long, concolorous, the lobes 1-10 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide; petiole to 4 cm long. Entire leaves lanceolate-elliptic, the lamina 8-25 cm long, 1-3.5 cm wide, concolorous; petiole 1-2 cm long.
Inflorescence up to 10-flowered; peduncle to 35 mm long; rachis to 15 cm long, often forked at base; pedicels 15-20 mm long. Calyx 5-6 mm long; lobes triangular, 1.5-3 mm long. Corolla rotate-stellate, 25-40 mm diam., blue-violet; lobes acute. Anthers 3.5-4.5 mm long.
Berry ovoid to ellipsoid, 10-15 mm diam., bright orange-red to scarlet. Seeds 1-1.5 mm long, light brown or reddish-brown. Stone-cell granules usually 1-1.5 mm long. n=23.
Distribution and ecology
Occurs mainly in eastern Qld, N.S.W. and Vic., with locally naturalised populations in S.A. and W.A. Also occurs in P.N.G., Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., New Caled. and N.Z., although some sources cite it as being extinct on Norfolk Island.
Kangaroo Apple, poroporo (NZ)
One of the Kangaroo Apples or subg. Archaeosolanum. Further information about this group of species can be found in Symon (1994).
Reference: Symon, D.E. (1994). Kangaroo apples: Solanum sect. Archaesolanum. Published by the author:
Cultivated in U.S.S.R., eastern Europe and N.Z. as source of solasodine for cortisone and other steroid drugs.
Ripe berries eaten by Aborigines in Lake Condah area.
Asphondylia paucidentata Kolesik, a gall midge, causes galls in the fruits of S. aviculare and S. linearifolium.
Reference: Kolesik, P., McFadyen, R.E.C. & Wapshere, A.J. (2000). New gall midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) infesting native and introduced Solanum spp. (Solanaceae) in
From the web
Collected from New Zealand by Banks & Solander on Cook's first voyage. A completed and very detailed engraving and painting of the species based on the artist Sydney Parkinson's illustrations can be seen on the Natural History Museum London website; search for Solanum aviculare within the Endeavour Botanical Illustrations pages at www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/nature-online/endeavour-botanical/indexadv.dsml
Images of Forster collections in W, more photographs and lots of extra links for this species can be seen on the Solanaceae Source site.
Information and images of S. aviculare can be seen on the Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network site.
A line drawing of S. aviculare can be downloaded at http://www.anbg.gov.au/poison-plants/poison-PDFs/Solanum-aviculare.pdf
An photograph of this species by Hugh Nicholson can be seen on the Terania Rainforest Publishing Photo Library site.