Solanum atropurpureum, commonly known as malevolence, purple devil and the five-minute plant, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Brazil. S. atropurpureum contains various toxic tropane alkaloids in its fruit, stems and leaves should not be ingested.
The plant is a small shrub growing 1.2 to 1.8 meters in height and 90 to 120 cm in width with ovate, spade shaped leaves 5 to 10 cm long when fully grown. It blooms yellow to white flowers in the late spring to mid summer, and produces small (1–2 cm wide) orange fruit. The fruit's juices can be irritating to the touch, so it is recommended that gloves be used when removing or handling. The plant is characterized by its purple stems, which are completely covered by striking purple and green thorns about 2 cm long, from which its common names are ostensibly derived. The plant is short lived with a 3 to 5-year lifespan.
The plant can be grown ornamentally, requiring full sun and modest water. The plant is known to grow in a wide variety of soils and can resist temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius for a few days. Seeds can be harvested from the fruits, and stem cuttings can be used to grow the plant in about 10 to 20 days.
In popular culture
Solanum atropurpureum made a major appearance in the Blinky Bill’s Extraordinary Balloon Adventure episode "Poisoned Penelope" where Princess Penelope the poodle was injected by the plant's venom and was almost killed by it, but was cured by a pair of human environmentalists. According to Sophia the howler-monkey symptoms from the plant include dizziness, a spotted rash, fever, coughing and death. Coincidentally at the end of the episode the main villains Basil and Cyril Circus also got poisoned in an attempt to catch Blinky Bill, but they too were cured.
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- Scott D. Appell (1 March 2003). Annuals for Every Garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-889538-57-0. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "Solanum atropurpureum Schrank, a Natural Reservoir of Potato Virus Y (PVY)". C. M. Chagas, Marly Vicente, A. P. C. Alba and J. R. July. Journal of Phytopathology. 1977-01-15. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
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