Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Solanum linnaeanum
Hepper & P.Jaeger, Solanaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Apple of Sodom, Sodom-apple

Hawaiian: pōpolo kīkānia, thorny pōpolo, yellow-fruited pōpolo

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Shrubs up to 1 m tall and in diameter, most parts armed with prominent, stout, nearly straight, straw-colored prickles up to 15 mm long, pubescent with stellate hairs, sparse on upper leaf surface, dense on lower surface, and also with minute, simple, glandular hairs.  Leaves simple, alternate, ovate-elliptic in outline, ca. 8 cm long and 6 cm wide, margins deeply pinnately lobed, sinuses rounded, reaching 3/4 to midrib, often with 5-7 major lobes, apex acute or rounded, base truncate to subcordate, oblique, petioles 1-2 cm long.  Lower flowers perfect, upper ones staminate, actinomorphic, few to 6 in stout racemose cymes from an internodal position, lower flower sometimes solitary, peduncles short or absent, pedicels ca. 1 cm long, prickly; calyx densely prickly, the tube ca. 5 mm long, the lobes triangular, 2-3 mm long; corolla purplish blue, rotate-stellate, ca. 2 cm in diameter, the lobes acute; stamens inserted near base of corolla tube; filaments 1-2 mm long; anthers erect, tapered above, 5-6 mm long, opening by terminal pores; ovary glabrous or with a few glandular hairs, vestigial in staminate flowers; style up to 1 cm long, sparsely pubescent in lower part, vestigial in staminate flowers; stigma green, capitate.  Berries yellow at maturity, dark brown upon drying, firm, mucilaginous, globose, 2-3 cm in diameter, fruiting pedicels thickened and recurved, calyx somewhat enlarged, all parts very prickly.  Seeds numerous, pale brown, rounded or obovate, biconvex, 2-3 cm in diameter, fruiting pedicels thickened and recurved, calyx somewhat enlarged, all parts very prickly.  Seeds numerous, pale brown, rounded or obovate, biconvex, 2-3 mm long, testa minutely reticulate.  Self-compatible"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1271).

Habitat/ecology:  "Grassland, coastal beaches and scrub.  Native habitats of this plant include rocky slopes, flats, and disturbed places.  Where invasive, it forms dense thickets that crowd out native plants by competing for space, water and nutrients.  Wildlife movement is restricted and dense patches provide harbor for rabbits in Australia"  (Weber, 2003; p. 405).  "Infests dry pastures and forests, displacing other plants and hindering movement of people and animals"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

In Hawai‘i, "naturalized in dry pastures, coastal to dry shrubland and dry forest, up to 575 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1271).  In Fiji, "occasionally seen as a weed in waste places and along roadsides near sea level" (Smith, 1991; pp. 9-10).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  "Africa, now widely established in warm temperate areas, often in sub-maritime situations" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1271).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 11)
"An occasional weed of wasteland". Vouchers cited: P.S. Green 1441 (A); 1898, I. Robinson (NSW); 1902, J.H. Maiden & J.L. Boorman (NSW)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1991) (pp. 9-10)
Voucher cited: Greenwood 793 (K)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1271)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaho‘olawe Island introduced
invasive
Herbarium Pacificum Staff (1998) (p. 13)
Voucher cited: G. Clarke & C. Corn 414 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1271)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1271)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1271)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1271)
Voucher cited: Heller 2409 (F. GH, MO, NY, UC)
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Île Lifou introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 132)
Voucher cited: Veillon 4103 (NOU)
"Naturalisé; peu commun".
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1991) (p. 10)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 132)
Vouchers cited: Däniker 762, MacKee 4050, MacKee 40432
"Naturalisé; peu commun".
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 188)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 1245)
"Common in sandy coastal habitats, also in poor pastures and scrub margins".

Control: 

Physical:  "Seedlings and small plants may be hand pulled or dug out.  Larger shrubs are grubbed and heaped for burning"  (Weber, 2003; p. 405).  "Goats control apple-of-Sodom (An Peischel).  Seedlings are easily killed by cultivation or pulling"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical:  "Seedlings and young plants can be controlled with 2,4-D, older plants with amitrole, picloram or tebuthiuron"  (Weber, 2003; p. 405).  "Sensitive to foliar-applied dicamba.  Sensitive to soil-applied tebuthiuron at 2 lb/acre"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Additional information:
Information from Solanaceae Source.
Excerpt from the book "Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide" (Motooka et al., 2003). (PDF format).

Additional online information about Solanum linnaeanum is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Solanum linnaeanum as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Solanum linnaeanum may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Herbarium Pacificum Staff. 1998. New Hawaiian plant records for 1997. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Miller, Scott, E., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1997. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 56:8-14.

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro. 2004. Invasive alien species in Japan: the status quo and the new regulation for prevention of their adverse effects. Global Environmental Research 8(2)/2004: 171-191.

Motooka, Philip/Castro, Luisa/Nelson, Duane/Nagai, Guy/Ching, Lincoln. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa. 184 pp.

Orchard, Anthony E., ed. 1994. Flora of Australia. Vol. 49, Oceanic islands 1. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Smith, Albert C. 1991. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 5. 626 pp.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication. University of Hawai‘i Press/Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 1919 pp. (two volumes).

Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch. 1365 pp.

Weber, Ewald. 2003. Invasive plants of the World. CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. 548 pp.


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 22 FEB 2007 and was last updated on 8 JUN 2011.