Solanum acerifolium Dunal

Solanaceae– Tomato family


– herb to 1.5 m tall

– dense long straight spines
– leaves with distinct lobes

– flowers pale green

– fruit sticky, marked with green marbling

habit with flower and fruit


Description. Erect herb, 1-2 m; stems and leaves with dense straight spines; leaves large with prominent pointed lobes; flowers 1.5-2.5 cm across, pale green with yellow anthers, calyx spiny; fruit 1-2 cm, globose, green with darker green streaking, surface sticky.

Similar species:

Solanum capsicoides – very spiny, low and spreading habit, with branching near the ground, large orange fruit.

S. chrysotrichum – woody shrub or small tree found in same habitat, but with sparse curved spines.

Local distribution. Cloud forest above 1500 m elevation; less common in Pacific slope wet forest down to 1300 m and down to 900 on the Atlantic side.

Habitat. Light gaps, road sides, and overgrown pastures.

Species range. Mexico to South America (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru)

Abundance. Uncommon

Phenology. FL: most of the year (mar, jul, sep, oct, nov). FR: becoming mature during flowering (jul).

Herbivores. Mechanitis menapis

Pollinators. Large bees, including Bombus spp.

Seed dispersers. Bats, rarely birds

Comments: The growth form is usually erect with a single stem. Grows in light gaps, pastures and roadsides in cloud forest; less common lower on the dry Pacific slope.

Voucher. Haber 9307

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Images and text copyright © 2001 by William A. Haber,
Created: 25 January 2001. Updated: 24 July 2001.