Solanum aviculare

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"Kangaroo Apple" redirects here. This name is also used for related species of Solanum.
Solanum aviculare
Solanum avicular Chatswood.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. aviculare
Binomial name
Solanum aviculare

Solanum baylisii Geras.
Solanum cheesemaniae Geras.
Solanum dispar Loisel. ex Dunal (nomen nudum?)
Solanum glaberrimum Dunal (non C.V.Morton: preoccupied)
and see text[1]

Solanum aviculare, commonly called poroporo (New Zealand), kangaroo apple (Australia), or New Zealand nightshade,[2] is a soft-wooded shrub native to New Zealand and the east coast of Australia.

It can grow up to 12 feet tall (4 metres). The leaves are, 8–30 cm long, lobed or entire, with any lobes being 1–10 cm long.

Its hermaphroditic (having both male and female organs) flowers are white, mauve to blue-violet, 25–40 mm wide, and are followed by poisonous berries 10–15 mm wide, orange-red to scarlet.


The leaves and unripe fruit of S. aviculare contain the toxic alkaloid solasodine. S.aviculare is cultivated in Russia and Hungary for the solasidine which is extracted and used as a base material for the production of steroid contraceptives.[3]

The plant is also used as a rootstock for grafting eggplant.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Solanum aviculare was first described by J. G. Forster in 1786, from a collection in New Zealand.[4]

There is some uncertainty whether S. aviculare and S. laciniatum are one or two species. S. aviculare has lighter flowers and is found in the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand, while S. laciniatum has darker purple flowers and is found south of Auckland.

In addition to this and the junior synonyms cited above, two varieties of S. aviculare have been named, but they are no longer considered taxonomically distinct[1]

  • Solanum aviculare var. albiflorum Cheeseman
  • Solanum aviculare var. latifolium G.T.S.Baylis


  1. ^ a b Solanaceae Source (2006)
  2. ^ "Solanum aviculare". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Low (1990): pp.210-211
  4. ^ "Solanum aviculare G.Forst.". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 


  • Low, T. (1990): Bush Medicine, A Pharmacopoeia of Natural Remedies. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-16462-2
  • Solanaceae Source (2006): Solanum sessiliflorum. Version of April 2006. Retrieved 2008-SEP-27.

External links[edit]