Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Solanum viarum
Dunal, Solanaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

Reject, score: 24 (Go to the risk assessment (Florida (U.S.))) (PDF format).
High risk (Go to the risk assessment (United States)) (PDF format).

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: mao guo qie

English: tropical soda apple

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Herbs or subshrubs, erect, 0.5-1 (-2) m tall, armed, minutely tomentose with many-celled, simple, mostly glandular hairs.  Stems and branches terete, densely and evenly pubescent with many-celled, simple hairs to 1 mm, armed with recurved prickles 2-5 X 1-5 (-8) mm and sometimes with needlelike prickles 1-4 mm.  Leaves unequal paired; petiole stout 3-7 cm, armed with erect, flat straight prickles 0.3-1.8 cm; leaf blade broadly ovate, 6-13 X 6-12 cm, with prickles and coarse, many-celled, glandular simple hairs on both surfaces, these mixed with sparse, sessile, stellate hairs abaxially, base truncate to short hastate, margin 3-5-lobed or -parted; lobes blunt at apex.  Inflorescences extra-axillary, subfasciculate, 1-5-flowered racemes; peduncle obsolete or short.  Flowers andromonoecious, only basal ones fertile.  Pedicel 4-6 mm.  Calyx campanulate, ca 10 X 7 mm, lobes oblong-lanceolate, 0.6-1.2 mm, hairy and sometimes prickly abaxially.  Corolla white or green; lobes lanceolate, ca 2.5 X 10 mm, pubescent as on calyx.  Filaments 1-1.5 mm; anthers lanceolate, acuminate, 6-7 mm.  Ovary puberulent.  Style ca 8 mm, glabrous.  Berry pale yellow, globose, 2-3 cm in diameter. Seeds brown, lenticular, 2-2.8 mm in diameter" (Zhi-yun, An-ming and D'Arcy, 1994; p. 323).

Habitat/ecology:  "Grassland, forests and hammocks, riparian habitats.  Where native, this fast growing plant grows commonly in grassland, thickets, and disturbed places.  Where invasive, it forms dense stands that outcompete native species. The plant can regenerate new shoots from its extensive root system and can quickly build up large populations"  (Weber, 2003; p. 410).

Propagation:  Seeds. "Seed production is prolific.  These are dispersed by birds and mammals.  The plant can regenerate new shoots from its extensive root system and can quickly build up large populations"  (Weber, 2003; p. 410).  The fruits are consumed by cattle and other animals. In the US, spreads into natural areas by wildlife such as deer, raccoons and feral pigs. May be a contaminant in grass seed.

Native range:  Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay (GRIN).

Presence:

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)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Wastelands, grasslands, thickets, open forests, along ditches, roadsides; 1400-2200 m. E. Xizang (Zaya Xian), Yunnan.
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  A declared noxious weed in the US.

Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Hunsberger, 2001).

Serves as an alternate hose for pathogens such as the gemini virus, cucumber mosaic virus, potato leaf roll virus, potato virus Y, tobacco etch virus, tobacco mosaic virus, tomato mottle virus, and the fungal pathogen Alternaria solani.

Control: 

Physical:  "Eradication is difficult due to the extensive root system.  Seedlings and small plants may be pulled or dug out, roots must be removed to prevent regrowth".

Chemical:  "Larger patches may be controlled by herbicides"  (Weber, 2003; p. 410).

Biological:  Biological control information from the publication "Biological control of invasive plants in the eastern United States".

Additional information:
Information from Solanaceae Source.
Information from the Global Invasive Species Database.
Information from the publication "Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control".
Information from the book "Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas" (PDF format).
Species profile from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Invasive Species Information Center.
Article from "Wildland Weeds".

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

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

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

References:

Hunsberger, A. G. B. 2001. Invasive and banned plants of Miami-Dade County. U. of Fl. Extension. 3 pp.

Langeland, K. A./Burks, K. Craddock. eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 pp.

Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. 93 p.

Mullahey, J. J./Colvin, D. L. 1999. Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum Dunal) in Florida - 2002. University of Florida, Cooperative Extension Service. SS-AGR-50.

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

U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Van Driesche, Roy/Lyon, Suzanne/Blossey, Bernd/Hoddle, Mark/Reardon, Richard. 2002. Biological control of invasive plants in the eastern United States. USDA Forest Service Publication FHTET-2002-04. 413 pp.

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

Westbrooks, R. 1995. Tropical Soda Apple. Aliens 2:15.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).

Zhi-yun, Z./An-ming, L./D’Arcy, W. 1994. Flora of China Vol. 17: Solanaceae. Missouri Botanical Garden.


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

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 4 JUL 2012.