\"Shrubs or small trees 2-10m tall, branched above to form a rounded canopy, unarmed, all parts densely pubescent with\nsessile to long-stalked stellate hairs, loose and floccose on young growth. Leaves paler on lower surface, simple, alternate, elliptic, up to0 cm long and 12cm wide on young vigorous growth, usually ca 8 cm long and ca 7cm wide, on mature stems. When crushed they give off a smell of diesel fuel. Margins entire, apex acuminate, base cuneate, often oblique, petioles 3-9cm long, each with 1-2 smaller auriculate leaves in axils, these sessile, rounded, sometime absent from weak or distal shoots. Flowers perfect, actinomorphic, numerous in branched corymbs, peduncles up to 15cm long to first fork, pedicels 2-3mm long; calyx tube short, 2-3mm long, the lobes narrowly triangular, 2-3mm long; corolla lilac blue with a pale star-shaped area at base, stellate, 1.5-2.5cm in diameter; stamens 5, inserted low on corolla tube; filaments ca 1mm long; anthers oblong, 2-3.5mm long, opening by terminal pores; ovary densely pubescent; style pubescent in lower part, 5-7mm long; stigma green, terminal. Berries green, ripening to dull yellow, succulent, globose, 1-1.5cm in diameter, pubescent at least in early stages. Seeds numerous, flattened, 1.5-2mm long, testa minutely reticulate. Self-compatible .\"\" (Wagner et al., 1999, in PIER, 2002)\"
Flowers and fruits all year round (Wildy, 2002). Germination of seeds stored in soil is stimulated by fire (ESC, 2003). Seedlings that become established in summer can flower by autumn. Plants can grow to a height of several metres within 2-3 years. Mature plants begin to die after 15 years (Haley, 1997).
Can be used as a nursery crop in countries where it is less invasive than elsewhere (e.g. Australia). This is because it can provide a protective environment for native vegetation to germinate and grow underneath. This is dependent on the situation though, as it will not be effective if S. mauritianum is so thick that it shades out plants growing beneath it. The fruit may be a valuable food source for native bird species, although these tend to facilitate long-distance dispersal and further invasion (CGC, 2003; T. Olckers, pers. comm.).
In Hawai‘i, naturalized on slopes and ridges in disturbed wet forest (Wagner et. al. 1999 in PIER, 2002). A coloniser of disturbed sites (KZN Wildlife). Tolerates various soil types and is shade-tolerant to a certain degree (Haley, 1997). In South Africa, the plant invades riparian zones, forestry plantations, natural forest, agricultural lands, urban open space and any other disturbed areas (e.g. along roadsides, powerlines etc.), particularly in the eastern, higher rainfall regions of the country (Henderson, 2001).
Seed. Some 20-80 berries are borne on each inflorescence, each of which contains about 150 seeds (T. Olckers, pers. comm.).
Introduced to New Zealand as a garden plant. (Mather, 1998). Introduced for flowers and to attract fruit-feeding birds (T. Olckers, pers. comm.). Invaded rangelands (T. Olckers, pers. comm.). Invaded plantations (T. Olckers, pers. comm.)
Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Review: Dr. Terry Olckers, ARC - Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa.
Publication date: 2006-02-22
Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2020) Species profile: Solanum mauritianum. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=209 on 14-08-2020.