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Useful Temperate Plants

Solanum aviculare

G.Forst.

Solanaceae


The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Kangaroo Apple

Solanum aviculare
Plant growing in Queensland
Photograph by: © Lynn Bohs
Creative Commons License
Solanum aviculare Solanum aviculare Solanum aviculare Solanum aviculare Solanum aviculare Solanum aviculare Solanum aviculare Solanum aviculare

General Information

Solanum aviculare is a Evergreen Shrub up to 1.80 metres tall.
It has edible, medicinal and miscellaneous uses.

Known Hazards

All green parts of the plant are poisonous[
154
Title
Flora of Victoria.
Publication
 
Author
Ewart. A. J.
Publisher
University Press; Melbourne
Year
1930
ISBN
 
Description
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
] and so is the unripe fruit[
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
].

Botanical References

44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Australia - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria. New Zealand.

Habitat

Coastal and lowland forest margins and shrubland on North South and Chatham Islands in New Zealand[
44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height1.80 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Succeeds in most fertile soils in a sunny position[
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
].
Tolerates temperatures down to at least -7°c in Australian gardens[
157
Title
Australian Native Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Wrigley. J. W. and Fagg. M.
Publisher
Collins. (Australia)
Year
1988
ISBN
0-7322-0021-0
Description
A lovely book, written in order to encourage Australian gardeners to grow their native plants. A little bit of information for the plant project.
] but is not very hardy in Britain. It sometimes succeeds as a shrub outdoors in the mildest areas of the country[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
] but is more usually cut to the ground by winter cold. It can, however, be grown at the foot of a warm sunny wall and be treated as a herbaceous perennial. As long as the roots are given a good mulch in autumn they should survive quite cold winters[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
]. Alternatively, it is possible to grow the plant as an annual. If the seed is sown in early spring in a warm greenhouse and planted out after the last frosts it can fruit in its first year though yields will be lower than from plants grown as perennials[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
A very ornamental plant[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
], it has been cultivated for its edible fruit by the New Zealand Maoris[
153
Title
Economic Native Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Brooker. S. G., Cambie. R. C. and Cooper. R. C.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1991
ISBN
0-19-558229-2
Description
An interesting and readable book on the useful plants of New Zealand.
]. It is a fast-growing but short-lived plant[
193
Title
Wild Food Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Low. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson.
Year
1989
ISBN
0-207-14383-8
Description
Well presented, clear information and good photographs. An interesting read for the casual reader as well as the enthusiast
].
There is much confusion between this species and S. laciniatum. Some botanists unite the two under S. aviculare whilst others say that S. laciniatum is a tetraploid form of this species[
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
]. S. laciniatum is treated as a distinct species here.

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
]. It must be thoroughly ripe because the unripe fruit is poisonous[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
153
Title
Economic Native Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Brooker. S. G., Cambie. R. C. and Cooper. R. C.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1991
ISBN
0-19-558229-2
Description
An interesting and readable book on the useful plants of New Zealand.
,
154
Title
Flora of Victoria.
Publication
 
Author
Ewart. A. J.
Publisher
University Press; Melbourne
Year
1930
ISBN
 
Description
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
]. It can be used as a sweet fruit or as a vegetable[
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. Best harvested once it has fallen from the plant, the fruit will then have lost its unpleasant acidity[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. It tastes much worse than it looks, the fruit is sickly sweet and often bitter[
193
Title
Wild Food Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Low. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson.
Year
1989
ISBN
0-207-14383-8
Description
Well presented, clear information and good photographs. An interesting read for the casual reader as well as the enthusiast
]. The quality varies from plant to plant and even from year to year from the same plant[
193
Title
Wild Food Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Low. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson.
Year
1989
ISBN
0-207-14383-8
Description
Well presented, clear information and good photographs. An interesting read for the casual reader as well as the enthusiast
]. The fruit is up to 2cm long and contains a large number of flat seeds[
193
Title
Wild Food Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Low. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson.
Year
1989
ISBN
0-207-14383-8
Description
Well presented, clear information and good photographs. An interesting read for the casual reader as well as the enthusiast
].

Medicinal

A source of steroids, much used in the pharmaceutical industry. The unripe berries are the richest source[
153
Title
Economic Native Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Brooker. S. G., Cambie. R. C. and Cooper. R. C.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1991
ISBN
0-19-558229-2
Description
An interesting and readable book on the useful plants of New Zealand.
,
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
].

Other Uses

In warmer climates than Britain this plant is often used as a hedge[
157
Title
Australian Native Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Wrigley. J. W. and Fagg. M.
Publisher
Collins. (Australia)
Year
1988
ISBN
0-7322-0021-0
Description
A lovely book, written in order to encourage Australian gardeners to grow their native plants. A little bit of information for the plant project.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. Germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing the plants as annuals, plant them out after the last expected frosts and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing well. If growing as a perennial, especially in areas at the limits of its cold-hardiness, it will probably be better to grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Give them fairly large pots (12cm or larger) because they have very strong root growth. Top growth might die back over winter, but the roots should survive if temperatures in the greenhouse do not fall below about -5°c. Plant them out in early summer of the following year. The plants will be somewhat hardier in their second winter.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame. Very easy, the cuttings root within a couple of weeks. Pot them up in fairly large pots and overwinter them in the greenhouse before planting out in early summer.

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