Solanum species of eastern and northern Australia

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A. R. Bean

Solanum serpens

Habit. Prostrate, stoloniferous perennial shrub, 0–0.3 m high.

Branchlets. Branchlets grey or rusty. Branchlet prickles 15–35 per decimetre, straight, acicular, 3–6 mm long, 10–14 times longer than wide, glabrous. Branchlet hairs stellate. Branchlet stellae dense, 0.25–0.35 mm diameter, stalks 0 mm long. Branchlet stellae lateral rays 7–8, porrect. Branchlet stellae central ray 4–9 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped.

Leaves. Leaves elliptical or ovate or broadly ovate, entire. Leaves 5.5–10 cm long, 2.5–4 cm wide, 1.4–2.9 times longer than broad. Leaf apex obtuse or acute, base cuneate or obtuse. Leaf oblique part 0–3 mm long, obliqueness index 0–4 percent. Petioles 0.6–1.5 cm long, 10–19% length of lamina, prickles present.

Upper leaf surface. Upper leaf surface green. Upper leaf surface prickles absent or present on midvein only or present on midvein and lateral veins, 0–8, straight, acicular, 2–4 mm long. Upper leaf surface stellate hairs confined to midrib or distributed throughout, hair density absent from surface or very sparse or sparse. Upper leaf surface stellae 0.6–3 mm apart, 0.2–0.5 mm across, stalks 0 mm long. Upper leaf surface stellae lateral rays 7–8, porrect. Upper leaf surface stellae central ray 3–6 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 or yellowish or rusty. Lower leaf surface prickles absent. Lower leaf surface stellate hair density moderate to very dense. Lower leaf surface stellae 0.05–0.3 mm apart, 0.3–0.4 mm diameter, stalks 0 mm long. Lower leaf surface stellae lateral rays 7–8, porrect. Lower leaf surface stellae central ray 3–5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped. 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, 0–3 mm long. Inflorescence rachis prickles absent. Inflorescence 1–4-flowered, with some bisexual and some male flowers. Flowers 5-merous. Pedicels at anthesis 11–28 mm long, same thickness throughout, 0.6–0.8 mm thick at mid-point, prickles absent or present. Calyx tube at anthesis 1.5–2.5 mm long. Calyx lobes at anthesis attenuate, 4–7 mm long. Calyx prickles at anthesis absent. Calyx stellae dense, transparent, 0.3–0.4 mm across, stalks 0 mm long, lateral rays 7–8. Calyx stellae central ray 2–5 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped. Calyx simple hairs absent, Type 2 hairs absent. Corolla mauve or purple, 10–13 mm long, shallowly lobed or deeply lobed, inner surface glabrous. Anthers 3.5–5.5 mm long. Ovary with stellate and Type 2 hairs. Functional style 7.5–8 mm long, protruding between anthers, with stellate hairs only. Functional style stellae 0.5–0.7 mm across, lateral rays 8–9, central ray 1–2 times as long as laterals.

Fruits. Fruiting calyx lobes less than half length of mature fruit, prickles absent. Mature fruits 1–2 per inflorescence, globular, 14–16 mm diameter, yellowish-green or green, often streaked, 1-locular (septum absent or incomplete). Mature fruits interior moist but not juicy, pericarp 0.6–0.8 mm thick. Pedicels at fruiting stage 20–32 mm long, 0.6–0.8 mm thick at mid-point. Seeds pale yellow, 3.5–4 mm long.

Distribution and habitat. Queensland, New South Wales. Qld: Moreton. NSW: North Coast. Evergreen notophyll rainforest (no eucalypts).

Miscellaneous. Subg. Leptostemonum. Data source: specimens.

Illustrations. • fruit. • plant habit. • plant habit. • plant habit. • leaves and flower.


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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