Solanum lucani F. Muell., Victorian Naturalist 9: 175 (1893). See notes below for spelling of epithet and access to protologue.
T: Cambridge Gulf, 1889, A. Lucanus s.n.; lecto: MEL 11346; iso: K; fide D.E. Symon, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4: 199 (1981).
[S. pubescens auct. non Willd.: W.V. Fitzgerald, J. Roy. Soc. W. Austral. 3: 102 (1918)]
Sprawling, probably annual herb to 30 cm high, c. 1 m wide, green or purple-green, pubescent with stellate hairs; prickles to 8 mm long, abundant on stems, peduncles and calyx, less common elsewhere.
Leaves ovate; lamina 5–10 cm long, 3–6 cm wide, sometimes larger, discolorous, entire or shallowly lobed; hairs sparse on upper surface, dense on lower surface; petiole 3–5 cm long.
Inflorescence 6–15–flowered; peduncle 2–5 cm long, lengthening in fruit; rachis 5–10 cm long; pedicels 5–13 mm long. Calyx mostly 3–4 mm long; lobes more or less triangular, 1–2 mm long; tube enlarged in fruit. Corolla rotate, 20–25 mm diam., purple. Anthers 4–5 mm long.
Berry globular, 10–15 mm diam., green when ripe; fruiting peduncle and axis 4–17 cm long; fruiting calyx 10–15 mm diam. Seeds 1.5 mm long, dark brown. n=12.
Distribution and ecology
Occurs in the Pilbara and the Kimberley region, W.A., to Willeroo Stn, N.T., usually in disturbed areas such as sand-bars and levees of rivers. Occasionally associated with gravelly washes of rocky outcrops.
A copy of Mueller’s original description of the species can be seen at http://bibdigital.rjb.csic.es/Imagenes/P0027_54/P0027_54_122.pdf
As the name Lucan is already in Latin form the correct genitive form is lucani - see www.chah.gov.au/chah/apc/interim/Solanaceae.pdf
Derivation of epithet
Named after August Lucanus (1848-1941), collector of the type specimen. In the year of the protologue he was working in the Kimberleys as a special constable with the Wyndham police.
For a biography of Lucanus see C.Clement & P.Bridge (eds) (1991). Kimberley Scenes. Sagas of Australia's last frontier. (Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, W.A.).
W.A.: 21 km N of Halls Creek, D.E. Symon 5268 (CANB, PERTH). N.T.: 47 km NNW of Inverway Homestead, P.K. Latz 5412 (AD, NT, PERTH); 182 km W of Katherine, J. Must 1242 (DNA, NT).
Plant status, if any
Conservation status as a plant of least concern in the
From the web
A collection of images of S. lucani can be seen on the FloraBase site.
There is presently limited information for this species on the Solanaceae Source site.