Solanum species of eastern and northern Australia

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A. R. Bean

Solanum ellipticum

Habit. Prostrate, herbaceous resprouter or rhizomatous perennial shrub, 0.1–0.25 m high.

Branchlets. Branchlets grey or mauve to purple or yellow or brown. Branchlet prickles 10–100 per decimetre, straight, acicular, 1–8 mm long, 8–14 times longer than wide, glabrous or with dense stellate hairs on lower part. Branchlet hairs stellate. Branchlet stellae dense to very dense, 0.5–0.8 mm diameter, stalks 0–0.1 mm long. Branchlet stellae lateral rays 7–10, porrect or ascending. Branchlet stellae central ray 0.5–1.2 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped.

Leaves. Leaves elliptical or ovate, entire. Leaves 3.5–14 cm long, 1.5–5.2 cm wide, 1.7–2.9 times longer than broad. Leaf apex obtuse or acute, base cuneate or obtuse. Leaf oblique part 0–9 mm long, obliqueness index 0–6 percent. Petioles 0.8–4 cm long, 20–45% length of lamina, prickles absent or present.

Upper leaf surface. Upper leaf surface green or grey-green. Upper leaf surface prickles present on midvein only or present on midvein and lateral veins, 2–20, straight, acicular, 1–7 mm long. Upper leaf surface stellate hairs distributed throughout, hair density sparse or moderate density or dense. Upper leaf surface stellae 0.1–0.5 mm apart, 0.4–0.7 mm across, stalks 0–0.1 mm long. Upper leaf surface stellae lateral rays 7–8, porrect. Upper leaf surface stellae central ray 0.5–1 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped. Upper leaf surface simple hairs absent. Upper leaf surface Type 2 hairs absent.

Lower leaf surface. Lower leaf surface greenish-white or white, grey or yellowish. Lower leaf surface prickles absent or present on midvein only or present on midvein and lateral veins, 0–20, straight, acicular. Lower leaf surface stellate hair density moderate to very dense. Lower leaf surface stellae 0.05–0.3 mm apart, 0.5–0.8 mm diameter, stalks 0–0.2 mm long. Lower leaf surface stellae lateral rays 7–8, porrect. Lower leaf surface stellae central ray 0.5–1.2 times as long as laterals. Lower leaf surface simple hairs absent. Lower leaf surface Type 2 hairs absent.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence supra-axillary, solitary or cymose (pseudo-racemose). Inflorescence common peduncle absent or present, 0–6 mm long. Inflorescence rachis prickles present. Inflorescence 1–5-flowered, with some bisexual and some male flowers. Flowers 5-merous. Pedicels at anthesis 4–11 mm long, 0.7–0.9 mm thick at mid-point, prickles absent or present. Calyx tube at anthesis 1.5–3 mm long. Calyx lobes at anthesis deltate or attenuate, 2–6 mm long. Calyx prickles at anthesis present, 5–50 per flower, 1–5 mm long. Calyx stellae moderate to very dense, yellow or white or brown or rusty, 0.4–0.8 mm across, stalks 0–0.3 mm long, lateral rays 7–8. Calyx stellae central ray 0.8–1.3 times as long as laterals. Calyx simple hairs absent, Type 2 hairs absent. Corolla mauve or purple, 7–12 mm long, shallowly lobed or deeply lobed, inner surface sparsely stellate-hairy. Anthers 4–5.5 mm long. Ovary glabrous or with Type 2 hairs only. Functional style 5.5–10 mm long, protruding between anthers, glabrous or with Type 2 hairs only. Stigma unexpanded.

Fruits. Fruiting calyx lobes less than half length of mature fruit or lobes more than half length of mature fruit, prickles 1–5 mm long. Mature fruits 1–2 per inflorescence, globular, 13–17 mm diameter, yellowish-green, 2-locular. Mature fruits placenta stalked, anvil-shaped. Mature fruits interior moist but not juicy, pericarp 0.6–1 mm thick. Pedicels at fruiting stage 7–19 mm long, 0.8–2.1 mm thick at mid-point. Seeds pale yellow, 2.2–2.7 mm long.

Distribution and habitat. Queensland, New South Wales. Qld: Moreton, Darling Downs, Wide Bay, Burnett, Maranoa, Leichhardt, Port Curtis, Kennedy South, Kennedy North. NSW: North-west Slopes. Semi-evergreen vine thicket or brigalow/belah, shrubby eucalypt woodland, remote from rainforest, lancewood communities (dominated by Acacia catenulata, shirleyi, burrowii, etc.), red earths in mulga (Acacia aneura) dominated communities.

Miscellaneous. Subg. Leptostemonum. Common name: Potato Bush. Data source: specimens.

Illustrations. • fruiting plant. • plant. • fruits. • flowers.


Cite this publication as: ‘Bean, A.R. 2012 onwards. Solanum species of eastern and northern Australia. Version: 29th June 2013. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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