Solanum fasciculatum F.Muell.
Common Name: Oondoroo
Solanum simile is an erect shrub that can grow up to 200cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a hedge.
Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most species in this genus also contain toxic alkaloids. Whilst these alkaloids can make the plant useful in treaing a range of medical conditions, they can also cause problems such as nausea, vomiting, salivation, drowsiness, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weakness and respiratory depression[
Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant[
Australia - Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia.
Arid environments, including coastal sands[
]. Disturbed soils[
]. Grows in drier, disturbed areas, including the gravel banks of creeks, roadside verges, etc., and is abundant after fire[365[,
Plants tolerate temperatures down to at least -7°c in Australian gardens[
], but this cannot be translated directly to British gardens due to our cooler summers and longer, colder and wetter winters. It is quite possible that this species can 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. This species is closely related to Solanum aviculare[
Succeeds in most soils in a sunny position[
]. The fruit is up to 15mm in diameter[
]. No further details are given but some caution is advised and the unripe fruit should not be eaten at all[
A source of solasonine - used in the manufacture of steroidal drugs and contraceptives[
]. The unripe fruit is the richest source.
Plants can be grown as a screening hedge in climates suitable for them[
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.