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Sodom Apple Solanum viarum

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Solanum khasianum
Phonetic Spelling
so-LAN-num vee-AR-um
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Tropical soda apple is an invasive perennial shrub native to Brazil and Argentina in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. It is found in cultivated pastures, croplands, hammocks and other disturbed areas and has been reported in fields used to hold cattle in NC. It was first found in FL in 1988 and was probably introduced through contaminated seeds or plants or from cattle from Argentina. It rapidly spread through the southeast and mid-south regions of the country. It is not very cold hardy but will resprout if it dies to the ground in winter.

The plant will grow to 6 feet tall and wide, forming impenetrable thick stands. The large green leaves are hairy and resemble oak leaves and the hairy branches are loaded with 3/4-inch straight prickles. The shrub has 5-petaled white flowers nearly all year but fruit production is heaviest Sept. to May. The fruits are up to 1&1/2 inch across and are mottled green and white when young, maturing to bright yellow containing many seeds. Each plant can produce up to 200 fruits per year.

The shrub threatens agriculture and forest ecosystems and can dominate the understory of forests crowding out native plant species. Cattle will eat the fruits helping to spread the plant. Any siting of the plant in NC should be reported to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Weed Specialist at 1-800-206-9333.
 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: It is a Federal Noxious Weed and listed as invasive by the NC Invasive Plant Council. See native alternatives to the left.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#shrub#high maintenance#aggressive#poisonous fruits#Noxious Weed List#problem for dogs#problem for children#weed#federal noxious weed list#pasture#prickles
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#shrub#high maintenance#aggressive#poisonous fruits#Noxious Weed List#problem for dogs#problem for children#weed#federal noxious weed list#pasture#prickles
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Solanum
    Species:
    viarum
    Family:
    Solanaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South America
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, PR, SC, TN and TX
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Weed
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Round fruits are up to 1.5 inches across. Young fruits are mottle green maturing to bright yellow. Each can contain up to 400 seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    5-petaled 1/2 inch white flowers appear in clusters nearly all year long
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large flat lobed leaves are broadly ovate, are 4-8 inches long by 2-6 inches wide and densely hairy with prickles along the veins. Edges are wavy. Dark green above and light underneath.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Young stems are green and mature to brown with long prickles
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach upset, loss of appetite can occur if fruits are eaten in quantity
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    solasodine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits