Solanum chrysotrichum

Solanum chrysotrichum.

Giant Devil’s Fig, naturalised in Queensland, is an environmental weed.
It is found in a few areas in Brisbane.

They are mostly spreading shrubs up to 4 m but can be small trees to 7 m high.
Young stems are green with rust coloured, stellate hairs.
Older, brown or greyish, woody stems loose the hairs.
The stellate hairs may or may not be on a stalk.
Their central ray may be longer or shorter than the rest.
Young stems have a few, small, scattered straight green prickles.
On older stems they are longer (up to 9 mm), slightly curved and brown, red or purple.

The broadly ovate leaves, alternately arranged, are around 25 (35 to 40) cm long.
The petioles, commonly around 5 cm long but sometimes more, have dense stellate hairs.
The blade margin is lobed and often wavy.
Its deep or shallow lobes can have round or pointed tips.
The lower green or yellowish surface is densely covered in stellate hairs.
The upper surface is green and with less dense hairs.
Young leaves may have a few small prickles on the mid-vein on the lower surface.
They are not present on older leaves.

The inflorescences (initially appearing terminal) can be in or above the leaf axils.
The main stalk or peduncle is up to 3 cm long and the individual flower stalks are under 2 cm.
Both are covered in simple, rust-coloured hairs that may have glands.
Each inflorescence can have over 50 white flowers that can be up to 4.5 cm across.
The star-shaped flowers, with parts in 5’s, are mostly bisexual but some are male.

The calyx, of green sepals up to 1 cm long, has a short tube and longer pointed lobes.
The outer surface has rust-coloured, stellate hairs.
The petals are up to 2 cm long with the bases fused into a short tube and long flaring lobes.
There are some stellate hairs on the outer surface and sometimes a few on the inner midrib.

The 5 stamens have yellow anthers up to 10 mm long on 2 mm long filaments.
They lie alongside, and close to, the style.
The superior ovary is only 2 mm long and may have simple glandular hairs.
The style, around 1 cm long, may also have simple or glandular hairs on the lower half.

The fruit are globular berries 1.5 to 2 cm across.
The top of the pedicel thickens being up to 5 mm across just below the berry.
The hairless, green fruit ripen to yellow and orange then become dry and brown.
The numerous pale brown, 2 mm, kidney-shaped seeds have a finely granular surface.

Solanum torvum.

The Devil’s fig or Prickly solanum, a weed, is naturalised in Queensland.
The shrubs or small trees are similar in size and appearance to Solanum chrysotrichum.
Parts have prickles and white or yellowish stellate hairs at some stage.
The leaves are widely ovate to almost round.
The blade edges are entire or shallowly lobed although young leaves can be deeply lobed.
Whitish stellate hairs are dense on the lower surface.
Prickles seen on young leaves are few or absent on older ones.
Inflorescences are similar but the flowers are smaller being under 25 mm across.
Stellate hairs on the outer surfaces of the sepals and petals are white.
The globular berries, 12 to 15 mm across, ripen from green to yellow then brown.