Solanum aculeastrum Dunal
var. aculeastrum

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Solanum aculeastrum var. aculeastrum

Picture: Bart Wursten

Solanum aculeastrum var. aculeastrum

Picture: Bart Wursten

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names:
Shrub or small tree. Branchlets densely covered in woolly hairs and armed with sharp, curved thorns. Leaves alternate, broadly elliptic, shallowly to deeply lobed, leathery, shiny green above, whitish velvety below, often with strong spines along the midrib and petiole. Flowers in axillary clusters, 2-3 cm wide, white to pale mauve with distinct yellow stamens and long, strap-like corolla lobes. Fruit fleshy, almost spherical, up to 5 cm in diameter, green to yellow when ripe, drying brownish to black. The fruits are highly toxic but are used in traditional medicine.
Type location:
Probably native to southern Africa
Notes: Zimbabwean records of Solanum aculeastrum have been named var. aculeastrum. The variety of the Zambian plants is not known but we have provisionally also placed them under var. aculeastrum.
Derivation of specific name: aculeastrum: somewhat prickly
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Mainly Dec - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical Africa and South Africa
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca):
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Mc
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 865. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 52. As Solanum aculeastrum

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 272. As Solanum aculeastrum

Gonçalves, A.E. (2005). Solanaceae Flora Zambesiaca 8(4) Pages 107 - 109.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 79. As Solanum aculeastrum

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 74. As Solanum aculeastrum (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (1955). Common Rhodesian Weeds Government of Rhodesia, Salisbury Page 88. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Solanum aculeastrum var. aculeastrum:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Solanum aculeastrum var. aculeastrum
Flora of Mozambique: Solanum aculeastrum var. aculeastrum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Solanum aculeastrum var. aculeastrum

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Solanum aculeastrum
African Plant Database: Solanum aculeastrum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Solanum aculeastrum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Solanum aculeastrum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Solanum aculeastrum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Solanum aculeastrum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Solanum aculeastrum
JSTOR Plant Science: Solanum aculeastrum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Solanum aculeastrum
Plants of the World Online: Solanum aculeastrum
Tropicos: Solanum aculeastrum
Wikipedia: Solanum aculeastrum

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-23

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2023). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Solanum aculeastrum var. aculeastrum., retrieved 9 December 2023

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