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Common names used for Solanaceae in Australia

A selection of common names applied to species of Solanaceae in Australia. All common names appearing in the earlier Flora of Australia vol. 29 treatment (Purdie et al. 1982) have also been included here. Extra common names have been taken from the sources indicated. Regional variation will account for more common names of species e.g. Broome Tobacco (Kenneally et al. 1996), but no attempt has been made to encompass all of these. 

Common names should always be used with care, but this applies particularly to those names applied to many of the Solanum species where there has been a changed circumscription of many of the Queensland species. Particular care also needs to be taken where the group concerned contains both edible and poisonous plants as in many of the Solanum species.

Afghan Thistle = Solanum hystrix or Solanum hoplopetalum

African Boxthorn = Lycium ferocissimum

Angel’s Trumpet = Datura metel (Hussey et al. 1997), but more usually referring to Brugmansia spp. which are not known to be naturalised in Australia. Brugmansia species are usually woody and with pendulous flowers while Datura species are herbaceous with erect flowers.

Apple of Peru = Nicandra physalodes

Apple of Sodom = Solanum linnaeanum

Aubergine = Solanum melongena

Australian Boxthorn = Lycium australe

Belladonna = Atropa belladonna - not naturalised in Australia. For further information see Mrs Grieve’s Modern Herbal or the Erowid page with images of plants, flowers and fruits and background information. 

Bittersweet = Solanum dulcamara

Black-berry Nightshade = Solanum nigrum

Black Henbane = Hyoscyamus niger

Black Nightshades = species of the Solanum nigrum group

Blue Potato Bush = Lycianthes rantonnetii (Spencer 2002), but see under Solanum rantonnetii

Boxthorn = Lycium spp.

Brazilian Nightshade = Solanum seaforthianum

Brinjal = Solanum melongena (Spencer 2002)

Broome Tobacco = Nicotiana heterantha

Buffalo Burr = Solanum rostratum

Bush Tomato = Solanum centrale

Bush Tomato = Solanum chippendalei (Latz 1981) but also often used for Solanum centrale and other Solanum species eaten by Aboriginal people of Central Australia. Care needs to be taken as not all Solanum fruits in the area are edible - and some are poisonous.

Bush Violet = Browallia americana (Spencer 2002)

Cape Gooseberry = Physalis peruviana

Coast Tobacco = Nicotiana maritima

Chalice Vine = Solandra maxima

Chilean Cestrum = Cestrum parqui

Chillies = Capsicum spp.

Chinese Boxthorn = Lycium barbarum

Chinese Lantern = Physalis spp.

Common Thornapple = Datura stramonium

Corkwood = Duboisia myoporoides

Corkwood = Duboisia leichhardtii

Cupflower = Nierembergia hippomanica

Cut-leaf nightshade = Solanum triflorum (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Deadly Nightshade = Atropa belladonna - not naturalised in Australia. For further information see Mrs Grieve’s Modern Herbal or the Erowid page with images of plants, flowers and fruits and background information. 

Desert Nightshade = Solanum oligacanthum

Desert Raisin = Solanum centrale (Latz 1981)

Devil’s Apple = Solanum capsicoides

Devil’s Fig = Solanum torvum

Devil’s Needles = Solanum stelligerum

Dirran curse = Solanum hamulosum

Downy Thornapple = Datura inoxia

Eastern Nightshade = Solanum pungetium

Eggplant = Solanum melongena

Elegant Poisonberry = Cestrum elegans

Felted Nightshade = Solanum quadriloculatum

Felted Nightshade = Solanum coactiliferum (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Felty Nightshade = Solanum densevestitum

Fierce Thornapple = Datura ferox

Flannel Bush = Solanum lasiophyllum

Forest Nightshade = Solanum prinophyllum

Forked Nightshade = Solanum sisymbriifolium

Giant Devil’s Fig = Solanum chrysotrichum

Giant Potato Creeper = Solanum wendlandii (Spencer 2002)

Gin’s Whiskers = Solanum inaequilaterum, Solanum semiarmatum

Glossy Nightshade = Solanum americanum

Green-berry Nightshade = Solanum opacum

Green Cestrum = Cestrum parqui

Green Poisonberry = Cestrum parqui

Grey Ray Flower = Cyphanthera albicans

Goosefoot Potato Bush = Solanum chenopodinum (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Ground Cherry = Physalis ixocarpa

Ground Cherries = Physalis spp.

Gunyang = Solanum vescum (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Hairy Thornapple = Datura wrightii

Hoary Thornapple = Datura wrightii

Horn of Plenty = Datura metel (Hussey et al. 1997)

Jasmine Nightshade = Solanum laxum

Jerusalem Cherry = Solanum pseudocapsicum

Jimson Weed = Datura stramonium, but also used to refer to other Datura species in America as well e.g. Datura wrightii

Kangaroo Apple = Australian species of Solanum subgen. Archaesolanum , Solanum aviculare, Solanum laciniatum, Solanum linearifolium, Solanum vescum, Solanum simile, Solanum symonii, Solanum capsiciforme

Kaffir Boxthorn = Lycium afrum

Lady of the night = Cestrum nocturnum

Lagoon Nightshade = Solanum lacunarium

Leichhardt’s Thornapple = Datura leichhardtii

Long-flowered Tobacco = Nicotiana megalosiphon (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Longspine Thornapple = Datura ferox

Love Apple = Solanum lycopersicum (Spencer 2002)

Madeira Winter Cherry = Solanum pseudocapsicum

Menindee Nightshade = Solanum karsense (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Money-leaved Solanum = Solanum nummularium

Mountain Kangaroo Apple = Solanum linearifolium

Narrawa Burr = Solanum cinereum

Native Pepper = Solanum capsiciforme

Native Thornapple = Datura leichhardtii

Native Tobacco = usually Nicotiana occidentalis, Nicotiana suaveolens but could be any native Nicotiana species

Native Tomato = Solanum ellipticum (Latz 1981)

Nightshades = Solanum spp.

Nipple Fruit = Solanum mammosum (Spencer 2002)

Oondoroo = Solanum simile or Solanum esuriale

Orange Cestrum = Cestrum aurantiacum

Pale-fruited Nightshade = Solanum adenophorum (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Pampas Lily of the valley = Salpichroa origanifolia

Pepino = Solanum muricatum. Grown but not naturalised in Australia. Fruits can be seen at www.orana.dk/fruitofthemonth23.html

Peppers = Capsicum spp.

Perennial Ground Cherry = Physalis virginiana

Pincushion Nightshade = Solanum rostratum

Pituri = Duboisia hopwoodii

Poisonberries = Cestrum spp.

Porcupine Solanum = Solanum hystrix

Potato = Solanum tuberosum

Potato Bush = Solanum ellipticum (Latz 1981)

Potato Bush = Solanum esuriale (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Potato Tree = Solanum erianthum

Potato Vine = Solanum laxum

Potato Weed = Solanum ellipticum

Prickly Potato Weed = Solanum hoplopetalum

Quena = Solanum simile or Solanum esuriale

Red Cestrum = Cestrum elegans

Rock Nightshade = Solanum petrophilum

Scented Tobacco = Nicotiana suaveolens (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Shy Nightshade = Solanum cleistogamum (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Silver Leaf Nightshade = Solanum elaeagnifolium

Slender Tailflower = Anthocercis gracilis

Small-flowered Tobacco = Nicotiana goodspeedii (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Spiny Kangaroo Apple = Solanum brownii

Spiny Potato Bush = Solanum ferocissimum (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Sticky Cape Gooseberry = Physalis viscosa

Sticky Ground Cherry = Physalis viscosa

Sticky Nightshade = Solanum sisymbriifolium

Sticky Tailflower = Anthocercis viscosa

Sturt’s Nightshade = Solanum sturtianum (Jessop & Toelken 1986)

Tailflower = Anthocercis spp.

Tamarillo = Solanum betaceum (syn. Cyphomandra betacea)

Thargomindah Nightshade = Solanum sturtianum

Three-flowered Nightshade = Solanum triflorum

Thornapple = Datura spp.

Tobacco = Nicotiana spp.

Tobacco Bush = Nicotiana glauca

Tobacco Tree = Solanum erianthum

Tomatillo = Physalis philadelphica

Tomato = Solanum lycopersicum (syn. Lycopersicon esculentum)

Tomato Bush = Solanum quadriloculatum (Jessop & Toelken 1986)

Tomato Weed = Solanum esuriale (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Tree Tobacco = Nicotiana glauca

Tree Tomato = Solanum betaceum (syn. Cyphomandra betacea)

Velvet Potato Bush = Solanum ellipticum (Jessop & Toelken 1986)

Velvet Tobacco = Nicotiana velutina (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Violet Nightshade = species of Solanum brownii

Water Bush = Lycium australe (Cunningham et al. 1981)

Western Nightshade = Solanum quadriloculatum (Jessop & Toelken 1986)

Western Nightshade = Solanum coactiliferum

White-edge Nightshade = Solanum marginatum

White Henbane = Hyoscyamus albus

White Horse Nettle = Solanum elaeagnifolium

White-tip Nightshade = Solanum chenopodioides

Wild Gooseberry = Physalis minima

Wild Gooseberry = Solanum ellipticum (Latz 1981)

Wild Tobacco = Nicotiana suaveolens (Cunningham et al. 1981, as N. exigua)

Wild Tobacco Tree = Solanum mauritianum

Wild Tomato = Solanum quadriloculatum (Jessop & Toelken 1986)

Wild Tomato = Solanum orbiculatum (Mitchell & Wilcox 1994)

Winter Cherry = Withania somnifera

Winter Cherry = Solanum pseudocapsicum (Jessop & Toelken 1986)

Woody Nightshade = Solanum dulcamara

Woolly Nightshade = Solanum villosum

Yellow Tailflower = Anthocercis littorea

Yesterday today and tomorrow = Brunfelsia spp., usually assigned to B. pauciflora or B. australis. Commonly grown in gardens but not known to be naturalised. Brunfelsia species are poisonous.


Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. & Leigh, J.H. (1981). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Government Printer, New South Wales).

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. & Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western weeds: a guide to the weeds of Western Australia. Plant Protection Society of Western Australia: Victoria Park).

Jessop, J. & Toelken, H.R. (eds) (1986). Flora of South Australia. 4th ed. 4 vol. (Government Printer: Adelaide).

Kenneally, K.F., Edinger, D. & Willing, T. (1996). Broome and Beyond. Plants and people of the Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley, Western Australia. (Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como, Western Australia).

Mitchell, A.A. & Wilcox, D.G. (1994). Arid shrubland plants of Western Australia. (UWA Press: Perth).

Purdie, R.W., Symon, D.E. & Haegi, L. (1982). Flora of Australia. Solanaceae. Vol. 29 (Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra).

Spencer, R. (2002). Horticultural Flora of south-eastern Australia. Vol. 4 (UNSW Press: Sydney)

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