Line drawing by M. Szent Ivany, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4 (1981) 284, fig. 129.

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium .


Solanum heteropodium Symon, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4: 284; figs 125, 129 (1981)

T: (South) Heywood Island, W.A., 21 May 1972, P.G. Wilson 10895; holo: PERTH; iso: AD ex ADW, CANB.


Sprawling or semi-erect shrub to 1.5 m, yellow-green, densely pubescent with stellate hairs; prickles to 10 mm long, abundant on most parts.

Lower leaves broadly elliptic; lamina to 22 cm long and 12 cm wide, concolorous, shallowly lobed; petiole 1-4 cm long. Upper leaves often in unequal-sized pairs, ovate; lamina 7-10 cm long, 4-6 cm wide, shallowly lobed, sessile or with petiole to 5 mm long.

Inflorescence of one bisexual flower below cyme of up to 12 male flowers; peduncle absent; rachis to 8 cm long. Bisexual flower: pedicel 10-15 mm long, lengthening in fruit; calyx 15-20 mm long, enlarged in fruit, the lobes triangular with linear apices, 10-15 mm long; corolla broadly stellate to pentagonal, 35 mm diam. purple; anthers 7-8 mm long. Male flowers similar: calyx 8-12 mm long, the lobes linear-lanceolate, unequal, 5-8 mm long; corolla broadly stellate.

Berry slightly bilobed, 10-15 mm diam.; colour unknown; fruiting pedicel to 4 cm long; fruiting calyx-lobes to 3 cm long. Seeds 4 mm long, black.

Distribution and ecology

A rare species known only from the far north-western Kimberley coast and adjacent offshore islands of W.A.


An andromonoecious species i.e. one in which there are male flowers and bisexual flowers on the one plant. Often there are many male flowers in an inflorescence with 1(-2) bisexual flowers at their base.

Andromonoecious species of the Dioicum group in Australia include S. beaugleholei, S. clarkiae, S. chippendalei, S. diversiflorum, S. eburneum, S. heteropodium, S. melanospermum, S. oedipus and S. phlomoides .

Symon (1981) indicated that the relationships of this poorly known species were obscure, with it appearing to have no close relationship except the sharing of a similar fruit structure to S. oedipus .  DNA studies by Martine et al. (2006) supported this suggestion with these two species forming one of three clades for the andromonoecious species of the Dioicum group of subgen. Leptostemonum.

However further molecular analysis involving the trnK-matK gene region has now indicated that all of the Australian andromonoecious species (except for S. campanulatum , S. cinereum and S. stupefactum) should be combined to form a single clade which also includes two African andromonoecious species and the Australian hermaphrodite species S. hoplopetalum (Martine et al., 2009).

References: Martine, C.T., D. Vanderpool, G.J. Anderson, and D.H. Les (2006). Phylogenetic relationships of andromonoecious and dioecious Australian species of Solanum subgenus Leptostemonum section Melongena: Inferences from ITS sequence data. Systematic Botany 31: 410-420; Martine, C.T., G.J. Anderson & D.H. Les (2009). Gender-bending aubergines; molecular phylogenetics of cryptically dioecious Solanum in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 22: 107-120.


Selected specimens

W.A.: Prince Regent River Reserve, A.S. George 12835 (PERTH); Boongaree Island, P.G. Wilson 11381 (AD, PERTH).


From the web

Further information can be found on the FloraBase site.

Further information and links for this species are not yet (March 2009) available on the Solanaceae Source site.