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Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Solanum linnaeanum
apple of Sodom


Reproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

Available from Touchwood Books

Solanum linnaeanum - apple of Sodom

Short, spreading, strongly spiny, woody perennial shrub up to 1 m or more tall. Mauve or violet flowers 3 cm across, followed by green and white mottled berries, ripening to yellow. Leaves lobed, downy underneath. The most common prickly species of Solanum in NZ.

  • Flowers Mauve or violet, 25-35 mm in diameter, on hairy stalks up to 10 mm long. Anthers 4-6 mm long. Flowers in few-flowered clusters. Flowers Sep-May.
  • Fruit Mottled green and white berries up to 3 cm in diameter. Yellow when mature. Poisonous.
  • Leaves Egg-shaped to oblong, up to 9 cm long by 7 cm wide, dark green on the upper surface, downy underneath. Deeply and irregularly divided into lobes with shallowly-waved margins.
  • Stems Branched, with strong yellow spines up to 1 cm long and scattered, star-shaped hairs.
  • Roots Non-suckering.


Frost-free coastal sands, poor pasture and scrub margins.


NI only, common on coastal and inland lowland North Auckland and Auckland. Less common south to Taranaki and Hawkes Bay. Originally from north Africa.


Generally regarded as a poisonous plant, but not often eaten by stock.

Related species

Solanum marginatum - white-edged nightshadeWhite-edged nightshade (Solanum marginatum) is a taller spiny shrub, up to 5 m tall, distinguished by its white felted branches, leaves with white undersides, and upper sides with a frosted margin. Flowers white, sometimes with purple veins. Found in scrub, forest margins, poor pasture, roadsides, waste places. Widespread and sometimes common in NI, locally common in Nelson and occasional in coastal areas as far south as Banks peninsula. Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).

Derivation of botanical name

Solanum Lat. name of a plant; linnaeanum after Carl von Linné (Linnaeus), 18th cent. Swedish botanist.

Web-notes: Weed Links

On this site

Reproduced from Common Weeds of New Zealand:

External Links

WeedbustersWeedbusters New Zealand
Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem.
A free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management.
Weed keyNew Zealand Weeds Key
An interactive identification key to the weeds of New Zealand. Developed at Landcare Research.

New Zealand Plant Conservation Network naturalised plants
Search for information on more than 2500 naturalise and weedy plants.
NZ Plant Protection SocietyNew Zealand Plant Protection Society
Their main objective: "To pool and exchange information on the biology of weeds, invertebrate and vertebrate pests, pathogens and beneficial organisms and methods for modifying their effects."
Massey UniversityMassey University Weeds Database
A site providing information about New Zealand weeds and weed control. It has a series of pages showing pictures of New Zealand weeds, notes on identification and control. It also provides information on a university paper entitled Controlling Weeds.

Weeds in Australia
Weeds website of the Australian Government.
Weed Society of Victoria
Promoting wider awareness and interest in weeds and their management. Includes a useful page of links to other weed societies.
Tamar Valley Weeds Strategy
Listing of common and botanical names, images, and information including control methods for weeds found in Tasmania, and also weeds of national significance.

Invasive and Exotic Species of North America
Images and other information from the University of Georgia.

World of Weeds
Weed-related resources including weed science, practical tools, gardening tips about controlling weeds, and environmental news updates.
Invasive Species Specialist Group
"The ISSG aims to reduce threats to natural ecosystems and the native species they contain by increasing awareness of invasive alien species, and of ways to prevent, control or eradicate them."
Site that includes a comprehensive collection of weed images from around the world.

FetchBook.Info Home PageBooks on Weeds from FetchBook.Info

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Last updated: July 13, 2014