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Solanum linnaeanum

   (Family: Solanaceae)
Afrikaans: Bitterappel English: Apple of Sodom, Devil's Apple  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 1 - 2m
Spread: 0.5 - 2m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water)
  This is a poisonous plant.
Flowering time EDIT
          x x x x x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Flower info
  Flowers are borne in clusters of 3-5 near the base of every second leaf. They are predominantly purple, but have yellow anthers (male parts of the flower), and the green calyx or cup at the base of the flower is prickly. The lowest one or two flowers in each cluster develop into fruits.
Leaf texture Rough
Leaf size 5 - 13mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  The bright green leaves are 5-12.5 cm long, 2.8-8 cm wide and have 3-4 deep rounded lobes on each side of the midrib. The stems and leaves are very prickly, with the prickles being straight, broad at the base, and up to 13 mm long.
Fruit colour
Fruit size Length: 23mm   Width: 30mm
Seed colour
  Seed info EDIT
  The globular fruits are bright yellow when mature, 23-30 mm diameter, and are fleshy or juicy rather like a tomato. The seeds are brown to black.
Description EDIT
Apple of Sodom (Solanum linnaeanum) is a prickly shrub with purple flowers and yellow fruits.
Grows to around 1.4 m high and broad.
Growing EDIT
Propogate by seed or spread by rhizome.
Distribution EDIT
Native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
History EDIT
Solbec Pharmaceuticals attempted to develop Coramsine, a 1:1 mixture of the alkaloids solamargine and solasonine extracted from Solanum linnaeanum, as a cancer drug. Preliminary clinical trials were initially promising, but the drug was ultimately unsuccessful.
Ecology EDIT
It can form dense swards in pasture or disturbed bushland.
Dispersed by seed, but is often not rapid because very few animals eat the fruits and hence ingest the seeds.
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