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Flora of Taiwan | Family List | Solanaceae

Solanum L.


Solanum erianthum

Credit: HAST

Herbs, shrubs, climbers, or small trees, often prickly; hairs simple, branched, or stellate, sometimes glandular. Leaves solitary or paired, simple or pinnately compound, entire, dentate, lobed, or parted; mostly petiolate. Inflorescences axillary, extra axillary, or leaf opposed, mostly racemose, paniculate, umbellate, fasciculate, or solitary flowers, without bracts; peduncle branched or not, sometimes obsolete. Flowers bisexual or andromonoecious, mostly radially symmetical, mostly 5 merous; calyx lobed partway and splitting further at the sinuses; corolla white, blue, purple (yellow), rotate or stellate; stamens inserted high in the corolla tube, anthers often connivent or connate around the style, dehiscing by apical pores and often later splitting longitudinally; nectary wanting; ovary mostly 2 locular with enlarged placentae; ovules axile, numerous; stigma small. Berries mostly juicy or muclaginous; fruiting calyx persistent, sometimes enlarged and enclosing the berry; seeds discoid or lenticular; embryo strongly curved and subperipheral.

About 1200 species, most in tropical and subtropical regions, especially in the Americas. 18 species in Taiwan, more than half introduced from elsewhere.

The Flora of Taiwan, ed. 1 (1978) referred to Solanum alatum Moench., which is a synonym of Solanum villosum Mill., a red and orange-fruited species that does not occur in Taiwan. The Key to the Species in that treatment leads to Solanum americanum as treated below, but many of the specimens annotated in herbaria in Taiwan as Solanum alatum are actually Solanum nigrum.


1 Plants with prickles or with stellate hairs or both.   (2)
+ Plants with neither prickes nor stellate hairs (soft green emergences sometimes present on stems of S. americanum and S. nigrum).   (12)
2 (1) Plants glabrous or with predominantly simple or rarely dendritic hairs, stellate hairs usually absent, if present on leaves, then mixed with simple hairs; fruit orange; seeds with a conspicuous circular wing, 4-6 mm across (including wings).   Solanum capsicoides
+ Plants with stellate hairs; prickles often present; fruits yellow or red, not orange, seeds unwinged, less than 4 mm across.   (3)
3 (2) Plants unarmed; leaves entire; anthers stout, not tapering; inflorescences many flowered, flat or rounded panicles held upright above foliage in flower and fruit, much-branched.   Solanum erianthum
+ Plants mostly armed; leaves mostly dentate or lobed; anthers slender, tapering distally; inflorescences unbranched or 1-branched, rarely more, angling from twigs, held below foliage or along stems.   (4)
4 (3) Fruit densely stellate hirsute with persistent tomentum; plants tomentose; calyx lobes nearly leaflike, more than 8 mm long; ovary tomentose overall   Solanum lasiocarpum
+ Fruit glabrous; plants variously pubescent; calyx lobes not leaflike, mostly less than 7 mm long; ovary with pubescence, if any, confined to the apex.   (5)
5 (4) Leaves deeply many-lobed, more than xx cm long; calyx enveloping the fruit until maturity, copiously prickly.   Solanum lasiocarpum
+ Leaves entire or lobed to halfway, if lobed deeper, then leaves less than xx cm long; calyx directed away from the maturing fruit; unarmed or with few prickles.   (6)
6 (5) Inflorescences mostly 1-3-branched; plants mostly more than 1 m tall.   (7)
+ Inflorescences unbranched; plants mostly less than 1 m tall.   (10)
7 (6) Leaves entire, lanceolate or narrowly oblong; corolla less than 8 mm long.   Solanum luzoniense
+ Leaves subentire or 6- or 7-sinuate lobed, ovate-elliptic; corolla more than 8 mm.   (8)
8 (7) Pedicel with simple glandular hairs, sometimes mixed with stellate ones; fruit yellow, more than 1 cm across; leaf lobes rounded   Solanum torvum
+ Pedicel with stellate hairs only; fruit yellow or red, less than 1 cm across; leaf lobes pointed.   Solanum lasiocarpum
9 Calyx lobes more than 1.5 mm long before splitting to form larger lobes; pedicels drying dark, sparingly tomentulose; fruit red; leaves mostly glabrescent above, sparingly lobed; seeds 2.5-3 mm across; upland species.   Solanum peikuoensis
+ Calyx lobes less than 1 mm long before splitting to form larger lobes; pedicels drying light, copiously tomentulose; fruit yellow; leaves mostly persistent-tomentose, saliently lobed; seeds 2 mm across; lowland species.   Solanum macaonense
10 (6) Inflorescence a single flower; fruit more than 1.4 cm across, fruit yellow, brown, purple or black; flowers mostly andromonoecious or heterostylous.   (11)
+ Inflorescenceseveral flowered; fruit less than 1.4 cm across, fruit red or orange; flowers mostly bisexual.   Solanum violaceum
11 (10) Fruit mostly much more than 4 cm across, variously shaped, seldom globose, green, white, black, pink, or brown, only yellow at extreme maturity.   (S. melongena L.-cultivated)
+ Fruit mostly less than 4 cm across, globose, green or yellow.   Solanum undatum
12 (1) Shrubs, leaves entire.   (13)
+ Herbs or vines, leaves entire, toothed or dissected.   (14)
13 (12) Several flowers appearing in a short inflorescenceat a node; fruits yellow; fruits yellow, less than 12 mm across; leavea glabrous.   Solanum diphyllum
+ One, rarely 2 flowers appearing at a node; fruits red, more than 12 mm across; leaves pubescent with branched hairs.   Solanum pseudocapsicum
14 (12) Slender high climbing, often twining vines; fruits red.   (15)
+ Herbs, mostly erect, not twining or high climbing; fruits black or rarely green.   (17)
15 (14) At least some leaves lobed or divided, leaves or leaflets basally pointed or cordate.   (16)
+ Leaves all entire, basally pointed.   Solanum pittosporifolium
16 (15) Plants glabrate; filaments 2 mm long; ovary glabrous; fruit mostly more than 1 cm across; seeds 3-3.5 mm across; leaves basally pointed.   Solanum seaforthianum
+ Plants villous overall; filaments 1 mm long; ovary puberulent apically; fruit mostly less than 1 cm across; seeds 2 mm across; leaves basally cordate.   Solanum lyratum
17 (14) Anthers less than 1.6 mm; corolla less than 5 mm long; fruiting calyx strongly reflexed; fruit mostly less than 8 mm across, shiny.   Solanum americanum
+ Anthers more than 1.7 mm; corolla more than 5 mm long; fruiting calyx mostly spreading or applied to the berry; fruit mostly more than 8 mm across, mostly dull.   (18)
18 (17) Fruit less than 10 mm across; anthers mostly less than 2.5 mm long fruiting calyx mostly spreading or applied to the berry; plants evidently pubescent with erect and spreading hairs; leaves dentate or subentire, ovate to lanceolate.   Solanum nigrum
+ Fruit often more than 10 mm across; fruiting calyx reflexed from berry; anthers often more than 2.5 mm long; plants with inconspicuous, appressed hairs; leaves subentire, broadly ovate, diamond-shaped, or rounded.   (S. scabrum Mill.-rare cultivar)

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