Solanum species of eastern and northern Australia


A. R. Bean

Solanum orbiculatum ssp. orbiculatum

Habit. Erect, rhizomatous perennial shrub, 0.5–1.3 m high.

Branchlets. Branchlets yellow or rusty. Branchlet prickles 1–18 per decimetre, straight, broad-based or curved, broad-based, 4–10 mm long, 5–7 times longer than wide, with scattered stellate hairs on lower half or with dense stellate hairs on lower part. Branchlet hairs stellate. Branchlet stellae very dense. Branchlet stellae lateral rays 7–9, porrect. Branchlet stellae central ray 0.3–0.8 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped. Branchlet Type 2 hairs absent.

Leaves. Leaves orbicular, entire. Leaves 1.3–3.3 cm long, 1.3–2.5 cm wide, 1–1.3 times longer than broad. Leaf apex obtuse, base cuneate or obtuse. Leaf oblique part 0–1.5 mm long, obliqueness index 0–5 percent. Petioles 2.5–10 cm long, 15–33% length of lamina, prickles absent.

Upper leaf surface. Upper leaf surface grey. Upper leaf surface prickles absent. Upper leaf surface stellate hairs distributed throughout, protostellae absent, hair density very dense. Upper leaf surface stellae lateral rays 6–8, porrect. Upper leaf surface stellae central ray 0.2–0.9 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 white, grey.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence supra-axillary, cymose (pseudo-racemose). Inflorescence common peduncle present. Inflorescence rachis prickles absent. Inflorescence 2–5-flowered, with one bisexual flower, the rest male or some bisexual and some male flowers. Flowers 5-merous. Pedicels at anthesis 5 mm long, same thickness throughout, prickles absent. Calyx tube at anthesis 3.5 mm long. Calyx lobes at anthesis deltate, 1.5–2.5 mm long. Calyx prickles at anthesis absent. Calyx stellae very dense, yellow or white. Calyx stellae central ray not gland-tipped. Calyx simple hairs absent, Type 2 hairs absent. Corolla purple, 14 mm long, shallowly lobed or deeply lobed, inner surface densely stellate-hairy. Anthers 5–6 mm long. Ovary glabrous.

Fruits. Fruiting calyx lobes less than half length of mature fruit, prickles absent. Mature fruits 1–2 per inflorescence, globular, 13–15 mm diameter, yellow. Pedicels at fruiting stage 5–8 mm long. Seeds pale yellow or brown, 2.5 mm long.

Distribution and habitat. Northern Territory, Western Australia. Red earths in mulga (Acacia aneura) dominated communities, shrublands in arid zone.

Miscellaneous. Subg. Leptostemonum. Data source: specimens.

Illustrations. • leaves and flowers. • whole plant.

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