Solanum capsicoides

Botanical Name :Solanum capsicoides
Family:    Solanaceae
Genus:    Solanum
Species:    S. capsicoides
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Solanales

Synonyms:
This species had been included in S. aculeatissimum as variety denudatum by Dunal (Solanum denudatum of Bitter is S. humile as described by Lamarck). It was also included in the eggplant (S. melongena) under its junior synonym S. trongum (as var. sinuato-pinnatifidum), also by Dunal.

In addition, the Cockroach Berry is sometimes referenced under the following obsolete names:

*Solanum arrebenta Vell.
*Solanum bodinieri H.Lév. & Vaniot
*Solanum capsicoides Hort. Paris ex Lam. (preoccupied)
*Solanum ciliare Willd.
*Solanum ciliatum Lam.
*S. ciliatum of Blume from F.A.W. Miquel is an undetermined species of Lycianthes.
*Solanum ciliatum var. arenarium Dunal
*S. arenarium of Schur is S. villosum as described by Philip Miller.
*S. arenarium of Otto Sendtner is a valid species
*Solanum macowanii Fourc.
*Solanum pentapetaloides Roxb. ex Hornem.
*S. pentapetaloides of Bojer from Dunal in de Candolle is S. imamense.
*Solanum pentapetalum Schltdl.
*Solanum sinuatifolium Vell.
*Solanum sphaerocarpum Moric.

Common Names: Cockroach berry, Devil’s apple, Soda apple

Habitat:  Solanum capsicoides is native to eastern Brazil but naturalized in other tropical regions. It is widely naturalised in eastern Australia (i.e. in the wetter parts of eastern Queensland and in some parts of eastern New South Wales).
Also widely naturalised in other tropical regions, including in south-eastern USA (i.e. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina) on several Pacific islands (i.e. French Polynesia, Western Samoa, Tonga and Hawaii).

Description:
Solanum capsicoides  is a flowering plant in the Solanaceae family.Annual or short-lived perennial shrub to 1 m high, sparsely hairy with long simple and minute glandular hairs It is native to eastern Brazil but naturalized in other tropical regions, where it sometimes becomes an invasive weed……click & see the pictures 

Stem:  Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall but also flowers when smaller.

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Leaves: Leaf blades about 4-8 x 4-7 cm, hairy on both the upper and lower surfaces also with erect, straight about 4-10 mm long spines present on both surfaces particularly along the midrib and main lateral veins. Petioles about 1.5-2.5 cm long. Leaf blade margins coarsely lobed with 2 or 3 lobes on each side. Twigs and petioles also armed with spines.

Flowers: Inflorescence axis, pedicels and calyx armed with straight spines. Pedicels about 10-25 mm long. Calyx about 4-6 mm long, lobes about 2-3 mm long. Corolla about 20-30 mm diam. Anthers orange, about 5-7 mm long, filaments somewhat flattened or winged. Ovary clothed in fine short glandular hairs. Style short.

Fruits:  Fruits depressed globular, about 20-35 mm diam. Pedicels spiny. Calyx green, spiny, persistent at the base of the fruit. Seeds numerous, about 4-6 mm diam. including the thick wing around the margin. Seeds dry, not immersed in pulp. Embryo +/- coiled, cotyledons no wider than the radicle.

Seedlings:  Cotyledons about 11-13 x 4-7 mm on petioles about 8-14 mm long. First pair of leaves alternate or paired, both the upper and lower surfaces and the petiole clothed in erect white hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- cordate, margin slightly lobed, spines present on the stem, petiole, midrib and lateral veins on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces.

Solanum capsicoides  is tender (frost hardy to zone 9a) perennial (grown usually as an annual plant) to 1,2m (4ft) high. This species is used in colder regions of Australia as a rootstock for perennial eggplant (Solanum melongena) trees. By grafting to create an “eggplant tree” which can literally produce from dozens to hundreds of eggplants. An “eggplant tree” can produce eggplants for about eight months of the year for two or three years in cold southern Australia areas. It is necessity only to cover the grafted tree in winter so the eggplant grafts don’t die off (the grafting process make plants that are annual in cold climates into perennials). Plant very spinous. In the past field children in Brazil delighted with these fruits. The layer of flesh under the skin is edible and very tasty. It should be not eaten in large quantities, it is rather a snack. Also very ornamental plant (many of orange fruits). In autumn the leafless branches with ripe fruits can be used like component of dry bouquets (the fruits are very permanent – for a few months they will not dry out or rot). Easy to grow. It can fruit in temperate gardens, but must be sown early (the best in January – March). Seeds harvested in summer 2012. Package 50 seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Solanum capsicoides, ponm pwezon, is used when “blood goes up in somebody’s head and make them kind of crazy.’’ First they are given a tea made of fle makata (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), bonmidjez and lard.  The head is then wrapped with ponm pwezon poultice and a decoction made with olive oil, cheese, and saspawey (Agave caribaeicola) is given to drink.  Ingestion of this plant could be harmful.

In homeopathy Solanum Arrebenta is used in   Apoplexy.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_capsicoides
http://www.heirloomseedswap.com/item/894
http://www.saintlucianplants.com/localuses/solacaps.html
http://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:apni.taxon:295961
http://keys.trin.org.au/key-server/data/0e0f0504-0103-430d-8004-060d07080d04/media/Html/taxon/Solanum_capsicoides.htm
http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/080c0106-040c-4508-8300-0b0a06060e01/media/Html/Solanum_capsicoides.htm

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