Solanum nobile A.R.Bean, Telopea 9: 645 (2001)

T: NSW,Gwydir Hwy, Gibraltar Range NP, 0.7 km E of watershed, 8 Sep 2000, A.R.Bean 16850; holo: BRI; iso: AD, K, MEL, NSW.

Solanum sp. Q5, Stanley & Ross, Fl. SE Qld 2: 424 (1986).

Solanum sp. (aff. cinereum), Williams et al., Trees Shrubs Rainforest NSW & S Qld 58 (1984).

S. cinereum auct. non R.Br.: Symon, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4: 258 (1981), p.p.


Erect, rhizomatous perennial shrub, 1.5-4 m high. Leaves (in outline) ovate or broadly ovate, deeply lobed, with 2-4 pairs of lobes; lamina 9-24 cm long, 5.5-17 cm wide, with c. 60 prickles on upper surface. Adult branchlets white or grey; prickles 2-30 per decimetre, straight, acicular or broad-based, 3-9 mm long, 6-10 times longer than wide; stellae dense, 0.2-0.3 mm diameter, sessile; lateral rays 6-7, porrect; central ray absent or present, 0-1 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent.

Adult leaves ovate or broadly ovate, shallowly to deeply lobed throughout; lobes 2-4 on each side, acute, lobing index 1.7-4; lamina 7-14 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, 1.4-2.7 times longer than broad, apex acute, base obtuse or cordate, oblique part 1-8 mm long, obliqueness index 1-6 percent; petioles 1.3-3.5 cm long, 17-26% length of lamina, prickles absent or present. Upper leaf surface green; prickles 0-10, straight, acicular, 4-10 mm long, prickles absent or present on mid-vein only or present on mid-vein and lateral veins; stellate hairs distributed throughout; proto-stellae present; ordinary stellae sparse, 0.4-0.5 mm apart, 0.15-0.25 mm across, sessile; lateral rays 6-8, porrect; central ray 0-0.5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent. Lower leaf surface white or yellowish; prickles 0-2, straight, acicular, absent or present on mid-vein only; stellae very dense, c. 0.05 mm apart, 0.35-0.45 mm diameter, sessile; lateral rays 6 or 7, porrect; central ray 0-0.5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent.

Inflorescence supra-axillary, pseudo-racemose, common peduncle 0-6 mm long, rachis prickles absent or present; 4-9-flowered, weakly andromonoecious, flowers 5-merous; pedicels 10-17 mm long at anthesis, markedly thicker distally, 0.7-1.2 mm thick at mid-point, prickles absent or present. Calyx tube 3-6 mm long, lobes attenuate, 5-8 mm long; prickles absent or present at anthesis, 0-5 per flower, 2-5 mm long; stellae dense, transparent or purple, 0.4-0.7 mm across, stalks 0-0.3 mm long, lateral rays 6-8, central ray 1-1.5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent. Corolla purple, 10-17 mm long, rotate, inner surface glabrous; anthers 4-5.5 mm long; ovary with Type 2 hairs only; functional style 9-10 mm long, erect, with Type 2 hairs only or with stellate and Type 2 hairs, lateral rays 7-9.

Fruiting calyx with lobes less than half length of mature fruit, prickles absent or present, 4-7 mm long. Mature fruits 1-3 per inflorescence, globular, 18-24 mm diameter, pale green with dark green streaks, 2-locular; placenta in cross-section stalked, anvil-shaped; mesocarp moist but not juicy; exocarp 0.8-1 mm thick; pedicels 15-24 mm long in fruit, 1.2-1.6 mm thick at mid-point; seeds pale yellow, 2.5-2.8 mm long.

Description by A.R. Bean, reproduced, with permission, from Austrobaileya 6: 779 (2004).

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in NE NSW from New England to the Qld border. It occurs in the Killarney area of Qld with a single old record from the Canungra region. Bean records its occurrence in rainforest or tall wet sclerophyll forest dominated by Eucalyptus saligna (Bean 2004).


Previously treated as S. cinereum but differing from that species by

S. nobile is also close to S. curvicuspe. The two species can be distinguished by the more deeply lobed leaves of S. nobile with a sparse upper surface indumentum (entire or shallowly lobed in S. curvicuspe and with a dense indumentum on the upper surface). S. nobile also has a more northerly distribution than S. curvicuspe .

Part of the S. macoorai group of subgen. Leptostemonum according to Bean (2004).


A group at the RBG Sydney is investigating the horticultural potential of the S. brownii group, including S. nobile, along with their genetic relationships. A report on their findings can be seen in Marchant et al. (2008).

Reference: Marchant, A. Perkins, P. Orel, G & Towler, G. (2008). Exploring the horticultural potential of native Australian flowering shrubs in the Solanum brownii group. Final report to the Australian Flora Foundation.


Selected specimens

QLD: DARLING DOWNS DISTRICT: Main Range, 24 km ENE of Killarney, Oct 1968, Everist 8124 (BRI); The Heads, 36 km SSW of Boonah on road to Killarney, Aug 1972, Henderson 1335 & Sharpe (AD, BRI); The Head, E of Killarney, Sep 1982, Bird (BRI); 0.7 km W of Moss Gardens, E of Killarney, Sep 2002, Bean 19367 (AD, BRI, NSW).

NSW: NORTH COAST: on top of Tooloom Range, near Acacia Creek, Sep 1908, Dunn (BRI); at Rory’s road T/O, Ewingar S.F., south of Tabulam, Feb 2001, Bean 17329 (BRI)

As cited by Bean (2004).

Plant status, if any

Listed as a data deficient species for Queensland - see

From the web

There are a series of photographs of this species showing leaves, flowers and fruits at

Further information on this species in NSW can be seen on the PlantNET site

A photograph of this species by Hugh & Nan Nicholson can be seen on the Terania Rainforest Publishing Photo Library site.