Swaziland's Alien Plants Database

Solanum viarum (Dunal).
tropical soda apple
Disturbed areas, Minor problem species
Origin: South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay)
Growth Form: Tree/shrub
Plant Description: Mature plants of S. viarum are 1 - 2 m tall and are armed on the leaves, stems, pedicles, petioles and calyxes with broad-based white to yellowish thorn-like prickles up to 1 cm long. Leaves and stems are pubescent; flowers are white with five recurved petals and white to cream-colored stamens. The immature fruits are mottled light and dark green like a watermelon. The mature fruits are smooth, round yellow, and 1 to 3 cm in diameter with a leathery skin surrounding a thin-layered, pale green, scented pulp and 180 to 420 flattened, reddish-brown seeds.
Key Features: thorn-like prickles up to 1 cm long on the leaves, stems, pedicles, petioles and calyxes, large round yellow fruit
Control: The best means of control varies according to the population size. Individual plants and small populations of S. viarum should be pulled up and burned completely along with all fruit. Larger populations require repeated mowing and/or one or more applications of an effective herbicide. It is important that the plants are not allowed to fruit.
Comments: Solanum viarum is an aggressive perennial native to Brazil and Argentina, that has been introduced to other parts of South America, North America, Africa, and Asia. The primary means of dispersal seems to be livestock (cattle) and wildlife, such as raccoons, deer, feral hogs, and birds that feed on fruits. Intra- and inter- county and state movement of livestock that have recently fed on S. viarum may be the primary vector for its spread. However, contaminated hay, seeds, and bags of manure for composting also serve as a means of its dispersal.
More information:
ISSG's Global Invasive Species Database

Photo - fruit/leaves

K Braun, Swaziland's Alien Plants Database

Photo - plant

K Braun, Swaziland's Alien Plants Database

Photo - flowers/leaves

K Braun, Swaziland's Alien Plants Database

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