Solanum hartwegii Benth.

Solanaceae– Tobacco Family


– 1-2 m shrub, short spines

– leaves with shallow, tooth-like lobes

– dense wooly white stellate hairs on leaf underside

– flowers pale blue with yellow-orange anthers

– globose orange fruit


Description. Shrub, maturing at 0.5-2 m tall, short stout spines on stem and branches; leaves paired, stem leaves often much larger and deeply lobed, upper leaves averaging about 8 x 12 cm, elliptic, not conspicuously lobed, densely coated below with white stellate hairs; inflorescences internodal, usually forked 1-1,5 cm above base; flowers pale blue, 20-25mm across, anthers yellow to orange, 6-8 mm, tapering, fruit a globose berry to 2 cm, green to dull yellow to orange.

Similar species:

Solanum chrysotrichum and S. rudepannum are similar spiny shrubs with pure white corollas.

Solanum wendlandii is a spiny liana of wetter habitats with deeply lobed, glabrous leaves and large blue flowers (also cultivated).

Local distribution. Dry Pacific slope below Monteverde, San Luis valley, along road from Santa Elena to Highway, 800-1000 m. Premontane moist and Premontane wet forest life zones.

Habitat. Overgrown pastures and roadsides.

Species range. Mexico to South America.

Abundance. Uncommon; very locally distributed.

Phenology. Flower: Jan-Mar, Jul-Aug, Oct +; Fruit: Jun-Jul.

Herbivores. Mechanitis polymnia

Pollinators. Bees

Seed dispersers. Bats, birds


Voucher No. Haber

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Images and text copyright © 2001 by William A. Haber,
Created: 21 February 2001. Updated: 24 July 2001.