Taxonomic name: Solanum sisymbriifolium Lam.
Synonyms: Solanum balbisii Dunal., Solanum balbisii var. bipinnata Hook., Solanum balbisii var. oligospermum Sendtn., Solanum balbisii var. purpureum Hook., Solanum bipinnatifidum Larrañaga., Solanum brancaefolium Jacq., Solanum decurrens Balb., Solanum edule Vell., Solanum formosum Weinm., Solanum inflatum Hornem., Solanum mauritianum Willd., Solanum opuliflorum Port., Solanum rogersii S.Moore., Solanum sabeanum Buckley., Solanum sisymbrifolium Lam., Solanum sisymbriifolium purpureiflorum Dunal., Solanum sisymbriifolium forma albiflorum Kuntze., Solanum sisymbriifolium forma lilacinum Kuntze., Solanum sisymbriifolium var. bipinnatipartitum Dunal., Solanum sisymbriifolium var. brevilobum Dunal., Solanum sisymbriifolium var. gracile Mattos., Solanum sisymbriifolium var. heracleifolium Sendtn., Solanum sisymbriifolium var. macrocarpum Kuntze., Solanum sisymbriifolium var. oligospermum, Solanum subviscidum Schrank, Denkschr., Solanum thouinii C.C. Gmel., Solanum viscidum Schweigg., Solanum viscosum Lag., Solanum xanthacanthum Willd.
Common names: alco-Chileo (Spanish), arrabenta cavalo, dense-thorn bitter apple (English), doringtamatie (Afrikaans-South Africa), espina colorada (Spanish), fire and ice plant (English), jeweelie (Argentina), joão bravo, jua das queimadas (Portuguese), jua de roca (Portuguese), klebriger nachtschatten (German), litchi tomato (English), liuskakoiso (English), manacader, morelle de balbis (French), mullaca espinudo, ocote mullaca (Spanish), pilkalapis baklazanas (Lithuanian), puca-puca (Spanish), raukenblatt-nachtschatten (Austria), red buffalo-burr (British Isles), revienta caballo (Spanish), sticky nightshade (English-United States, United Kingdom), tomatillo (Spanish), tutia (Spanish), tutia o Espina Colorada, uvilla, viscid nightshade (English-United States, Australia), wild tomato (English), wildetamatie (Afrikaans-South Africa)
Organism type: herb
Solanum sisymbriifolium is a viscid, hairy herb native to South America that is currently distributed throughout the world. It is valued for its many uses, which include its use as a trap crop for potato cyst nematodes, and the use of its fruit as both a source of solasodine (used to synthsise hormones) and as a food for birds and humans. However, it acts as an invasive weed in some parts of its range by out-competing local vegetation. Biological control methods for Solanum sisymbriifolium have been determined and applied in some regions.
Solanum sisymbriifolium is an annual or perennial erect, rhizomatous herb about 1 metre in height. The stem and branches are viscid, hairy, and armed with flat, orange-yellow spines up to 15mm in length. The ovate to lanceolate leaves are borne on petioles 1-6cm long and are pubescent both above and below with stellate and glandular hairs. The leaves are pinnately divided into 4-6 coarse lobes and may be up to 40cm long and 25cm wide. Inflorescences emerge from the foliage and are internodal, unbranched racemes composed of 1-10 perfect or staminate flowers. The 5-parted flowers are white, light blue, or mauve, about 3cm in diameter, and are subtended by a hairy calyx 5-6mm long. Erect, converging anthers are 8-10mm long, and ovary is puberulent with a style 1cm long. Red, succulent, globular berries are 12-20mm in diameter with pale yellow seeds 2.9-3.2mm long (Bean, 2006; D'arcy, 1974; Radford et al., 1968).
agricultural areas, ruderal/disturbed, urban areas
Solanum sisymbriifolium is found along roadsides and in waste places, landfills, and plowed fields both in its native South America (Hill and Hullley, 1995) as well as most of its nonnative range. In Australia it is found in shrubby eucalypt woodlands (Bean, 2006). It is able to succeed in any type of soil and soil pH, but requires moisture and thrives in peat and sandy soils. It is tolerant of low-light situations (PCN Control Group, 2004; Plants For a Future, 2004)
Solanum sisymbriifolium may compete with local vegetation to their exclusion. It is declared a Category 1 alien invader plant in South Africa, and it may not be planted, propogated, imported, or sold in the country (SANBI, 2001.
Solanum sisymbriifolium is best known for its use as a trap crop for potato cyst nematodes (PCN), such as Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida. Using S. sisymbriifolium in potato fields helps prevent the potato crop from being infested with PCN, and has been shown to reduce populations of PCN by 50–80% (Timmermans et al., 2006). S. sisymbriifolium is an excellent trap crop because it stimulates the hatching of juvenile PCN from their cysts by root diffusates, yet is completely resistant to infestation by the juveniles once they hatch, preventing reproduction of the pests (PCN Control Group, 2004; Scholte, 2000; Timmermans et al., 2006). The species is also highly resistant to the nematodes Meloidogyne, Trichodorus, and Pratylenchus (PCN Control Group, 2004). Additionally, the roots ofS. sisymbriifolium are resistant to a number of strains of the bacterica wilt pathogen Pseudomonas solanacearum.
The fruits of S. sisymbriifolium are edible and are consumed regularly by indigenous birds (Hill & Hulley, 1995) and infrequently by the Chorote Indians of Gran Chaco, Argentina (Arenas & Scarpa, 2007). The fruit is also a source of solasodine, a glycoalkaloid used in the synthesis of corticosteroids and sex hormones, and a large component of oral contraceptives (Hill & Hulley, 1995). S. sisymbriifolium is cultivated as an ornamental in Rurope (Shaw, 2000).
In Florida Solanum sisymbriifolium is well established in local populations but apparently has difficulty expanding past those sites (D'arcy, 1974).
Native range: South America (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay) (GRIN, 2007).
Known introduced range: North America (Canada, Mexico, the United States), Europe (Spain, the Netherlands), Asia (India, China, Taiwan), Africa (South Africa, Congo, Swaziland), and Australasia (Australia, New Zealand) (see Distribution sheet for sources).
Introduction pathways to new locations
Agriculture: Introduced to new areas for use as a trap crop for potato cyst nematodes.
Other: Solanum sisymbriifolium may have been introduced unintentionally to South Africa with imported horse fodder (Byrne, Currin, and Hill, 2002).
Local dispersal methods
Consumption/excretion: Birds eat the fruits and excrete the seeds in new locations
Preventative measures: As Solanum sisymbriifolium tends to be invasive, its introduction as a trap crop or cultivated plant into a new region should be considered thoroughly before implementation.
Mechanical: Mechanical means of control are difficult due to the species' ability to coppice after cutting and to reproduce prolifically by seed and rootstock (Byrne, Currin, and Hill 2002).
Biological: Biological control methods for Solanum sisymbriifolium include the leaf-feeding tortoise beetle Gratiana spadicea and the flower-feeding weevil Anthonomus sisymbrii. G. spadicea was released in South Africa in 1994 for control of S. sisymbriifolium, and A. sisymbrii has been considered for introduction there as well (Olckers, Medal, and Gandolfo, 2002).
Sexual reproduction resulting in seeds is the predominant means of reproduction for Solanum sisymbriifolium (Hill & Hulley, 1994), but the species may also reproduce asexually by the growth of its rhizomes (Bean, 2006). It is believed to be self-incompatible (D'arcy, 1974).
When planted in the field, Solanum sisymbriifolium germinates in 2-4 weeks. It may grow slowly for the first 4-6 weeks, but growth following that period can be vigorous (PCN Control Group, 2004).
Reviewed by: Filip Verloove, National Botanic Garden of Belgium
National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Belgium
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Monday, 29 March 2010