Solanum wrightii

Solanum wrightii.

In Family Solanaceae and from Brazil it is also known as Solanum macranthum.
The Giant Potato Tree is seen in tropical gardens.

They are large evergreen shrubs or trees up to 12 m high with a rounded crown.
The smooth grey bark on the trunk later develops some fissures.
Young stems have stellate hairs on stalks up to 2 mm long.
There is sometimes a gland on the central ray.
There are also long and short simple hairs with and without glands.
The yellowish prickles, sometimes curved, may be scattered to dense.

The ovate to lanceolate leaves can be alternate or opposite.
The petioles, up to 7.5 cm long, have stiff, yellowish, stellate hairs and may have prickles.
Leaves, often around 30 cm long, can be up to 80 cm or more and are 20 to 30 cm wide.
Blades can be entire or have up to 4 shallow to deep lobes on each side.
The heart-shaped bases are markedly unequal and the edges are wavy.

The dark green upper surface has simple 1 mm high hairs with and without glands.
These are densest on the midrib where there are also stellate hairs.
The yellowish-green lower surface has stellate hairs on long stalks.
The midrib and main veins may have small prickles.
There is a cultivar without prickles.

Inflorescences, in clusters of up to 50, are near the ends of the branches.
The peduncles can be up to 6 cm long and the pedicels 1 to 2 cm.
There is a mix of simple hairs with and without glands and stalked stellate hairs.
The large flowers, with parts in 5’s are up to 7 or 8 cm across.

The bell-shaped calyx, 1 to 2 cm long, has a short tubular base and long pointed lobes.
Smooth inside, there are simple and stellate hairs outside.
The petal bases are fused into a 1 to 2 mm long tube with long pointed lobes.
Inside, the petals have some hairs on the midrib.
Externally there are dense, stellate hairs especially on the midrib.
Flowers open a dark purple, blue or lilac then fades to a paler colour.
After a few days they become white but the midrib remains coloured.

The hairless stamens have yellow or brownish anthers with apical pores.
The hairless, superior ovary has 4 locules.
The style may be partly visible or hidden by the stamens.
There are some glandular hairs on the base of the style.
The small, simple stigma is green.

The fruit are smooth, hairless, globular berries.
They mature from, green to yellow or orange.
The pedicel elongates up to 2.5 cm and the calyx tube becomes thick and woody.
There are many reddish or dark brown seeds 2 to 3 mm across.