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 an exotic tree commonly known in New Zealand as woolly nightshade and 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 native to South America, including Northern Argentina, Southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It has become a widespread invasive weed in New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, and Hawaii’s, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Reunion Island, Mauritius, Madagascar, Australia, India and several southern African countries.

Woolly Nightshade is poisonous and handling the plants can cause irritation and nausea. The dust from the plant can cause respiratory problems if exposure is prolonged. Because of its ability to affect human health and of its aggressive and fast growing character it is illegal in some areas of New Zealand to sell, propagate, or distribute any part of the plant. The plant has a life of up to thirty years, and can grow up to 10 m tall. Its large oval leaves are grey-green in colour and covered with felt-like hairs. The flower is purple with a yellow center. The plant can flower year round but fruiting occurs in late spring to early summer. It is tolerant of many soil types and quickly becomes established around plantations, forest margins, scrub and open land. It is poisonous for many organisms, including humans.

Solanum mauritianum on the banks of the Te Henui Stream



Woolly Nightshade flowers and green fruit (June)

Woolly Nightshade Flowers (June)

Woolly Nightshade fruit green stage before turning yellow  (June)

Ripe fruit late January. See 100s of seeds per fruit