Solanum parvifolium R.Br. subsp. tropicum A.R.Bean, Austrobaileya 6: 700 (2004).

T: Queensland. Herberton water Supply Weir, Wild River head, Moomin area, 25 April 2002, P.I. Forster 28670;  holo: BRI (2 sheets + spirit); iso: AD, K, L, MEL, MO, NSW. an image of the type specimen can be accessed through


 Erect, rhizomatous perennial shrub, 0.6–1.5 m high. Juvenile stage unknown. Adult branchlets grey or brown or green; prickles 1–20 per decimetre, straight, acicular, 4–7 mm long, 8–18 times longer than wide; stellae sparse to dense, 0.3–0.6 mm diameter, stalks 0–0.2 mm long; lateral rays 6–8, porrect; central ray 0.1–0.8 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent.

Adult leaves linear or narrow lanceolate, entire; lamina 7.5–13.5 cm long, 1.3–3.5 cm wide, 3.3–7 times longer than broad, apex acute, base cuneate or obtuse, oblique part 0–2 mm long, obliqueness index 0–3 percent; petioles 0.7–1.3 cm long, 7–13% length of lamina, prickles absent. Upper leaf surface green; prickles absent; stellate hairs distributed throughout; proto-stellae absent; ordinary stellae very sparse to moderate density, 0.3–3 mm apart, 0.3–0.5 mm across, sessile; lateral rays 6–8, porrect; central ray 0.7–1.5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs present throughout, 0.1–1.5 mm apart. Lower leaf surface white; prickles absent; stellae very dense, c. 0.05 mm apart, 0.4–0.6 mm diameter, sessile; lateral rays 7 or 8, porrect; central ray 0.3–1 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent.

Inflorescence supraaxillary, pseudo-racemose, common peduncle 0–6 mm long, rachis prickles absent; 2–6- flowered, strongly or weakly andromonoecious, flowers 4 or 5-merous; pedicels 14–24 mm long at anthesis, markedly thicker distally, 0.4–0.8 mm thick at mid-point, prickles absent. Calyx tube 1.5–3 mm long, lobes attenuate, 2–3.5 mm long; prickles absent at anthesis; stellae dense to very dense, yellow or brown or rusty, 0.3–0.5 mm across, sessile, lateral rays 7 or 8, central ray 0.5–1.5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped; finger hairs absent; Type 2 hairs absent. Corolla purple, 9–15 mm long, rotate or shallowly lobed, inner surface glabrous; anthers 4.5–6.5 mm long; ovary glabrous, or with stellate and Type 2 hairs; functional style 7–9 mm long, erect, glabrous or with Type 2 hairs only or with stellate and Type 2 hairs, stellae c. 0.4 mm across, central ray c. 0.5 times as long as laterals.

Fruiting calyx with lobes less than half length of mature fruit, prickles absent. Mature fruits 1 per inflorescence, globular, 5–7 mm diameter, red, 1-locular (septum absent or incomplete); placenta not apparent; mesocarp juicy, succulent; exocarp c. 0.3 mm thick; pedicels 26–33 mm long in fruit, 0.5–1 mm thick at mid-point; seeds pale yellow, 2–2.4 mm long.

Description by Bean, reproduced, with permission, from Austrobaileya 6: 700 (2004).

Another detailed description of this sub-species by Bean can be found at

Distribution and ecology

Solanum parvifolium  ssp. tropicum is found only in north Queensland where it extends from Mt Abbot (near Bowen) to Atherton, and west to Forty Mile Scrub N.P. and Jervoise Holding. It is found on rainforest margins or “wet sclerophyll” forest with shrubby understorey  (Bean 2004).


Part of the S. ferocissimum group of subgen. Leptostemonum according to Bean (2004) together with S. chenopodinum, S. corifolium, S. defensum, S. discolor, S. dissectum, S. dryanderense, S. dysprosiumS. ferocissimum, S. fervens, S. inaequilaterum, S. latens, S. lythrocarpum, S. mentiens, S. shirleyanum, S. stelligerum and S. yirrkalense .


The two subspecies of S. parvifolium differ by

Ssp. parvifolium has a more southerly distribution than ssp. tropicum.


Derivation of epithet

From the Latin tropicus, meaning tropical, a reference to the distribution of the subspecies.

Selected specimens

QLD: COOK DISTRICT: track to Wallum Trig, Atherton Tablelands, Sep 1977, J.Powell 672 & Armstrong (BRI, NSW); Turkey Scrub, ‘Whitewater’, Jan 1993, R.Fensham 345 (BRI); Mt Baldy S.F., SW of Atherton, Apr 2002, A.R.Bean 18869 & McDonald (BRI). NORTH KENNEDY DISTRICT: Mt Fox, Sep 1949, Clemens s.n. (BRI); 41 km from ‘Reedy Brook’ towards ‘Mt Fox’, Aug 1972, G.H.Gittins 2508 (BRI); ‘Jervoise’ Holding, May 1979, B.Hyland 9931 (BRI, QRS); Forty Mile scrub N.P., 60 km SSW of Mt Garnet, Jan 1990, G.Batianoff 900133 & Smith (BRI); Mt Abbot, 50 km W of Bowen, Mar 1992, A.R.Bean 4220 (BRI); Mt Moti, Bluewater Range, WNW of Townsville, May 1996, Cumming 14700 (BRI); Hugh Nelson Range, SE of Herberton, Jan 1998, Jago 4641 & Wannan (BRI).

Specimens cited by Bean in the original description of this subspecies in Austrobaileya 6: 702 (2004).


From the web

Further information, images of herbarium specimens and links for this species can be found on the Solanaceae Source site. The subspecies are also treated separately from this page.