Illustration by W.A.Smith of S. fervens. Reproduced from Austrobaileya 6: 687 (2004), fig.  17.

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium.


*Solanum furcatum Dunal ex Poiret, Encycl. Suppl. 3: 750 (1814)

T: Peru, Dombey; holo: P n.v. (an image of the type can be accessed at

S. douglasii auct. non Dunal: J.H.Willis, Handb. Pl. Victoria 2: 551 (1973)


Straggling perennial herb with stems to 1 m long, green or purplish-green, sparsely pubescent with minute simple hairs; prickles absent.   

Leaves ovate-lanceolate; lamina 3–10 cm long, 2–5 cm wide, slightly discolorous, entire or shallowly lobed; petiole 1–3 cm long, usually winged in upper part.  

Inflorescence usually forked, to 24–flowered; peduncle 10–25 mm to first fork; pedicels 1 cm long. Calyx 2–3 mm long; lobes broadly triangular or rounded, 1–1.5 mm long. Corolla stellate, 15–20 mm diam., white with yellow centre. Anthers 2.3–3.3 mm long.  

Berry globular, 6–9 mm diam., purplish-black. Seeds 2 mm long, light brown. Stone-cell granules to 1.2 mm long. n=36.

Distribution and ecology

Native to South America. Possibly naturalised in Vic. and Tas. but known from only a few collections.

Common name

Forked nightshade


 Part of the S. nigrum or "Black nightshade" group of species, usually referred to as cosmopolitan weeds and usually thought to have originated in the Americas. They are characterised by their lack of prickles and stellate hairs, their white flowers and their green or black fruits arranged in an umbelliform fashion.

The species can be difficult to distinguish. Other species to occur in Australia are S. americanum, S. chenopodioides, S. douglasii, S. nigrum, S. opacum, S. physalifolium, S. retroflexum, S. sarrachoides, S. scabrum and S. villosum.

A useful reference to the Black Nightshades is J. M. Edmonds & J. A. Chweya, The Black Nightshades. Solanum nigrum and its related species. Int. Plant. Genetic Res. Inst. Rome (1997).


Selected specimens

Vic.: Mornington Peninsula, 24 Feb. 1963, J.H. Willis (MEL). Tas.: near Smithton, May 1947, W.M. Curtis (HO).

From the web

Further images of specimens can be found on the Solanaceae Source site.

Further information about this species can be accessed through the Plants Profile site of the US Department of Agriculture.