Solanum furcatum Dunal ex Poir.

Broad Nightshade

Encycl. Suppl. 3: 750 (1814) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect, ascensding or straggling perennial herb with stems usually to 1 m long, green or purplish-green, sparsely pubescent with simple hairs; prickles absent. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, 3–10 cm long, 2–5 cm wide, slightly discolorous, apex acute or obtuse, base cuneate, margins entire to shallowly lobed, both surfaces sparsely pubescent; petiole 1–3 cm long, usually winged in upper part. Inflorescences simple, forked or branched, to 24-flowered; primary peduncle 1–2.5 cm long. Flowers on pedicels to c. 10 mm long; calyx 2–3 mm long, lobes broad-triangular, 1–1.5 mm long, often rounded at apex; corolla stellate, 12–20 mm diam., white with yellow centre, often variously tinged violet; anthers 2.3–4.2 mm long. Berry globose, 6–9 mm diam., purplish-black, more or less glabrous; seeds c. 2 mm long, light brown; stone-cell granules to 0.5–1.2 mm wide. Flowers summer and autumn.

*CVU, *EGL, *GipP, *HNF, *HSF, *OtP, *Strz. Also naturalised Tas. Native to South America. In Victoria, known from a few localities around Melbourne, mostly near-coastal, but also at Boolarra, Tremont in the Dandenong Ranges, and at Hepburn Springs.

Both Henderson (1974) and Symon (1981) recognised Solanum douglasii in their accounts of Solanum in Australia. Subsequently, Purdie et al. (1982) excluded S. douglasii from their treatment, with a note that the species is inadequately known in Australia. It is unclear whether both species are present in Australia, or just S. furcatum (the earlier named species). Both species were recognised in Jeanes (1999). Many of the morphological characters used in Australian literature to separate the two species, in particular the supposedly discriminatory simple vs forked inflorescence appear to be unreliable and can vary within a population. On account of the difficulty in reliably separating the two species, only S. furcatum is recognised here, pending a better understanding of the Australian plants.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Solanaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2017-10-26

Henderson, R.J.F. (1974). Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) and Related Species in Australia, Contributions from the Queensland Herbarium 16: 1-78.

Purdie, R.W.; Symon, D.E. & Haegi, L. (1982). Solanaceae, in: George, A.S. (ed), Flora of Australia, Vol. 29, Solanaceae, Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra.

Symon, D.E. (1981). A revision of the genus Solanum in Australia. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens , Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 4: 1-367.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Solanales
family Solanaceae
genus Solanum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Solanum furcatum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Solanum furcatum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia