Plants of
South Australia
Solanum symonii
Solanaceae
South Australian Kangaroo-apple
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
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Vulnerable
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Extinct
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
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Etymology

Solanum was first used by Pliny the Elder (23–79) for S. nigrum, also known as strychnos and possibly from the Latin 'sol' meaning sun; referring to its status as a plant of the sun or from the Latin 'solamen' meaning solace, comfort; referring to the narcotic properties of some species. Symonii named after David E. Symon (1920-2011), South Australian botanist, renowned worldwide for his study of the Solanaceae family and author of the first major revision of Solanum for Australia since that of Bentham in the 1800s.

Distribution and status

Found scattered in South Australia along the Nullarbor, Eyre Peninsula and the tip of Yorke Peninsula, growing on stabilised dunes, in sandy soil over limestone, or in gypseous soil. Also found in Western Australia. Native. Rare in South Australia. Common in Western Australia.
Herbarium regions: Nullarbor, Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect, branching short lived perennial shrub to 1.5 m tall. Leaves are large, green with numerous deep lobes to 18 cm long and 8 cm wide. Inflorescence a long a spike with 2-6 large pale lavender-purple flowers. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are large green or tinged purple fleshy ovoid fruit to 1.5 cm diameter. Seeds are orange-brown flat, round seed to 2.5 mm diameter, with numerous small ridges. Within the fruit there will be some white hard spherical material. These are not seed. Seed embryo type is linear fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Pick fruits which are ripening, usually soft and green with tinge of purple. Green fruits can be collected if the seeds inside are hard and turning orange. Place the fruits in a bucket of water and rub with your hands to separate the seeds from the flesh. Wash the mixture with clean water and drain. Place the mixture on paper towel and leave to dry overnight. Then rub the dried material by hand to remove any remaining flesh from the seeds. Use a sieve to remove the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 95% to 100%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily without pre-treatment.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA11,000 (19.81 g)25-Nov-2009MJT246
Nullarbor
1-Jun-2010100%-18°C
BGA8,000 (9.11 g)44-Nov-2009TST868
Nullarbor
1-Jun-201095%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table:
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