Solanum laciniatum kangaroo apple; poroporo
Solanum laciniatum at Mountstewart

Family: Solanaceae

Origin: Australia and New Zealand

Solanum laciniatum fruit TS

This member of the potato family is a shrub to 3 m tall, which is found in coastal scrub and lowland forest margins in its native habitat. It has thin, dark-green leaves, tinged purple, around 15 cm long, which are deeply cut into 3-9 lobes. The showy flower has bright blue-purple petals, notched at the tip, with bright orange-yellow stamens in the centre; small, tomato-like fruits, about 2 cm long, which are yellow-orange, are produced in summer.

Solanum laciniatum immature fruits

Although grown here only as a decorative plant, it has many medicinal uses in New Zealand the leaves are rubbed into wounds caused by tattooing, and the pith of dry stems used to treat bruises; decoctions of the leaves and inner bark were used to treat ulcers and other skin conditions; nowadays some alkaloids from the plant are used to produce hormones.

Introduced in 1772.

Solanum is an old Latin name for other members of this family; laciniatum means slashed into thin strips.

Solanum laciniatum leaf
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