Line drawing by M. Szent Ivany, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4 (1981) 241, fig. 106.

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium.


Solanum macoorai Bailey, Queensland Dept. Agric. Bot. Bull. 8: 80 (1893) 

T: South peak, Mt Bellenden Ker, Qld, June 1889, F.M.Bailey s.n.; holo: BRI.


Erect shrub or small tree to 4 m tall, dark green or purplish-green; young growth and buds pubescent with minute stellate hairs, mature growth glabrous except along leaf veins; prickles to 1 cm long, abundant only on lower main stem and leaf-surfaces of young plants, sparse to absent elsewhere.  

Leaves elliptic or ovate, concolorous. Juvenile leaves with lamina 10–25 cm long, 4–12 cm wide, shallowly lobed; petiole 3–8 cm long. Mature leaves with lamina mostly 5–10 cm long, 2–4 cm wide, entire to shallowly lobed; petiole 1–2 cm long.  

Inflorescence short, up to 12(-30)–flowered; peduncle 1–2 cm long; pedicels 10–15 mm long, lengthened in fruit. Calyx 5–8 mm long; lobes triangular, 2.5–3 mm long. Corolla stellate, deeply incised, 1.5–3 cm diam, mauve. Anthers 4–6 mm long.  

Berry globular or obovoid, mostly 15–25 mm diam., orange-red; fruiting pedicels 20–30 mm long, distinctly thickened. Seeds 3 mm long, pale yellow-brown.

Distribution and ecology

Found in Qld from Windsor Tableland (near Mount Carbine) to the Kirrama Range near Cardwell. Occurs in rainforest or the ecotone between eucalypt forest and rainforest, in high rainfall areas. Altitude is commonly between 500 and 1500 metres, but it extends almost to sea level in some places. Northern specimens on the AVH generated map either represent the wider circumscription of Symon or are misidentifications. For a more up to date map visit the AVH site through your local herbarium.

Flowers and fruits have been recorded for most months of the year (Bean 2004).

Common name

The common name Gin's Whiskers was used for this species according to Symon (1981) but Bean (2004) lists this as the common name for S. inaequilaterum.


According to Symon closely related to and often confused with S. inaequilaterum Domin; distinguished by taller stature, shallowly lobed juvenile leaves, absence of glandular hairs on pedicels and calyx, and orange-red fruit. [Bean (2004) treats S. inaequilaterum as part of the Ferocissimum group].

Bean (2004) notes that S. macoorai is close to the resurrected S. magnifolium F.Muell., a name which Symon treated as a synonym of S. stelligerum. However Bean's S. magnifolium is the same as Symon's S. dallachii.

The characters used by Bean to distinguish between S. macoorai and S. magnifolium would seem to be part of a continuum; the differences listed all relate to density of prickles and hairs and the major difference of the stellate hairs of the lower leaf surface lacking a central ray is negated by the description.

S. macoorai is part of the group of subgen. Leptostemonum that bears its name, according to Bean (2004).  



Juvenile and adult foliage are markedly different and often only the lower main stem and younger leaves are prickly.

Selected specimens

Qld: Mt Bartle Frere, V.K. Moriarty 1583 (BRI, CANB).

Only specimen cited in Purdie et al. (1982).


QLD: COOK DISTRICT:  Johnstone River, Jul 1917, Michael (BRI); Boonjie, Atherton  Tableland, anno 1929, Kajewski 1255 (BRI); Lake Barrine,  Jul 1938, Goy 432 (BRI); near Mt Haig, c. 12 miles [19 km]  SE of Mareeba, May 1969, Tracey s.n. (BRI); Mt Bellenden  Ker, c. 1 mile [1.6 km] SE of Centre Peak, Jun 1969, Smith  14682 (BRI); Pine Creek Forestry road, Malbon Thompson  Range, Jul 1973, Webb & Tracey 13383 (BRI, QRS); SW  slopes of May Peak, ESE of Cairns, Sep 1974, Moriarty 1580  (BRI, CANB); S.F.607, West L.A., Dec 1974, Hyland 7903  (BRI); Mt Bartle Frere, 1.8 km WSW of Bobbin Bobbin Falls,  Nov 1988, Jessup GJM1077 et al. (BRI); S.F.194 Herberton  Range, c. 9.5 km S of Rifle Range road turnoff, Aug 1989,  Bostock 1023 & Guymer (BRI); S.F.185 Danbulla, Breach  L.A., Dec 1991, Gray 5361 (BRI, QRS); Smiths Track,  Barron Gorge N.P., Apr 1997, Jago 4327 (BRI); S.F.144,  Chowchilla L.A., Sep 2000, Ford 2428 (BRI); Wooroonooran  N.P., East Mulgrave River, Nov 2000, Forster PIF26433 et  al. (A, BRI, MEL). NORTH KENNEDY DISTRICT: Koolmoon  Creek, Sep 1959, Smith 10809 (BRI); ‘Bellview’, Evelyn,  Jan 1974, Collins C74-5 (BRI);Kirrama Range, S.F.344, c.  38 km NW of Kennedy, Nov 1989, Fell DF2006 (AD, BRI,  MEL); Koombooloomba S.F., near Tully Falls road, S of  Ravenshoe, Apr 2002, Bean 18717 & McDonald (BRI,  MEL).    

Specimens cited by Bean (2004).


From the web

Further information and links for this species can be found on the Solanaceae Source site.