T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Solanum mauritianum (Woolly Nightshade)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. mauritianum
Binomial name: Solanum mauritianum
Common name: Woolly Nightshade, Ear-leaved Nightshade , Flannel Weed, Bugweed, Tobacco Weed, Tobacco Bush, Wild Tobacco and Kerosene Plant.


This plant is poisonous
Visit http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/plants-toxic-if-eaten-by-man.html

Solanum mauritianum is an exotic tree native to South America, including Northern Argentina, Southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. In New Zealand it is classified as a national surveillance plant pest. Woolly nightshade is extremely invasive and can out-compete surrounding flora due to its fast reproduction cycle, large annual seed mass and rapid growth rates. Groves of woolly nightshade commonly lack under storey vegetation, generally believed to be caused by shading out effects. It is found growing in rough pasture in gullies, next to shelter belts and bush margins, on roadsides and in poorly maintained areas. It is more common and abundant in frost-free northern New Zealand. It has spread south throughout the North Island. In the South Island it can be found only in Nelson City and the Tasman District.

Solanum mauritianum is a lowland shrub that can grow to a tree of 8 – 10m. It has whitish, branching, soft-woody stems. 
The oval (10-35 x 3-15 cm) grey, green leaves are velvety to touch. They are whitish underneath. Prominent 25 mm auricles (green ear-like structures) are at the base of each leaf clasping the stem.
Solanum mauritianum flowers throughout the year. It has dense clusters of mauve or violet flowers (20 mm across) with a yellow center. 
Flowering is followed by clusters of round green berries (1 cm diameter), they ripen to a dull yellow.

All parts of the shrub are covered in dusty hairs which can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat.
The berries are poisonous to humans if eaten, and particularly to children, but also to cattle and pigs.



Young self-seeded plants.


A young stem with  prominent auricles (green ear-like structures) are at the base of each leaf clasping the stem.
 

The flowers.






The unripe green berries.


The ripe yellow berries.


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/