Solanum species of eastern and northern Australia
Habit. Erect, rhizomatous perennial shrub, 0.8–2.5 m high. Large stems prickles present.
Branchlets. Branchlets yellow or brown. Branchlet prickles absent or present, 0–10 per decimetre, straight, acicular, 6–10 mm long, 14–18 times longer than wide, glabrous. Branchlet hairs Type 2 or stellate. Branchlet stellae sparse to moderate to very dense, 0.3–0.5 mm diameter, stalks 0–0.4 mm long. Branchlet stellae lateral rays 7–8, porrect. Branchlet stellae central ray 1–4 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped, thready. Branchlet Type 2 hairs sparse.
Leaves. Leaves lanceolate or ovate, entire. Leaves 2.5–13 cm long, 0.9–4.5 cm wide, 1.8–3.5 times longer than broad. Leaf apex obtuse or acute, base cuneate or obtuse. Leaf oblique part 0–3 mm long, obliqueness index 0–5 percent. Petioles 0.4–1.8 cm long, 8–16% length of lamina, prickles absent.
Upper leaf surface. Upper leaf surface green. Upper leaf surface prickles absent or present on midvein only, 0–3, straight, acicular, 6–9 mm long. Upper leaf surface stellate hairs confined to midrib or distributed throughout, hair density absent from surface to sparse. Upper leaf surface stellae 0.5–1.5 mm apart, 0.3–0.8 mm across, stalks 0 mm long. Upper leaf surface stellae lateral rays 4–8, porrect. Upper leaf surface stellae central ray 1.5–5 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. Lower leaf surface prickles absent. Lower leaf surface stellate hair density dense to very dense. Lower leaf surface stellae 0.05–0.1 mm apart, 0.3–0.6 mm diameter, stalks 0–0.6 mm long. Lower leaf surface stellae lateral rays 7–8, porrect. Lower leaf surface stellae central ray 1.5–4 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 sessile (rachis very short or absent) or cymose (pseudo-racemose). Inflorescence common peduncle 1–2 mm long. Inflorescence rachis prickles absent. Inflorescence 1–5-flowered, with some bisexual and some male flowers or all flowers bisexual. Flowers 5-merous. Pedicels at anthesis 8–15 mm long, same thickness throughout or markedly thicker distally, 0.4–0.6 mm thick at mid-point, prickles absent. Calyx tube at anthesis 1.5–3 mm long. Calyx lobes at anthesis deltate or rostrate, 0.5–3 mm long. Calyx prickles at anthesis absent. Calyx stellae very dense, yellow or white, 0.25–0.4 mm across, stalks 0–0.1 mm long, lateral rays 7–8. Calyx stellae central ray 1–4 times as long as laterals, not gland-tipped. Calyx simple hairs absent, Type 2 hairs absent or present. Corolla white or mauve or purple, 6–12 mm long, shallowly lobed or deeply lobed, inner surface glabrous. Anthers 4–5.5 mm long. Ovary with Type 2 hairs only or with stellate and Type 2 hairs. Functional style 5.5–8 mm long, protruding between anthers, with Type 2 hairs only or with stellate and Type 2 hairs. Functional style stellae 0.25–0.4 mm across, lateral rays 6–7, central ray 1–3 times as long as laterals.
Fruits. Fruiting calyx lobes less than half length of mature fruit, prickles absent. Mature fruits 1–4 per inflorescence, globular, 6.5–9 mm diameter, red, glabrous or with a few scattered stellate hairs, 1-locular (septum absent or incomplete). Mature fruits placenta not apparent. Mature fruits interior juicy, succulent, pericarp 0.25–0.5 mm thick. Pedicels at fruiting stage 14–21 mm long, 0.6–0.7 mm thick at mid-point. Seeds pale yellow, 1.9–2.2 mm long.
Distribution and habitat. Queensland, New South Wales. Qld: Moreton, Darling Downs, Wide Bay, Burnett, Port Curtis, Kennedy North. NSW: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast. Wet eucalypt forest with rainforest understorey, or rainforest margins, shrubby eucalypt woodland, remote from rainforest.
Miscellaneous. Subg. Leptostemonum. Common name: Devil's Needles. Data source: specimens.
Illustrations. • flowers. • flowering branch. • flowers and fruit. • 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’.