Solanum aviculare: is a member of the Solanaceae family in company with the potatoes and tomatoes. Kangaroo Apple is the common name.
Solanum aviculare is a large, spreading shrub that may reach a height of four metres. The leaves vary in shape and may be lobed or entire. They are 15-30 centimetres long and usually 10-15 centimetres wide. We are growing a form that has narrow, entire leaves that are less than 5 centimetres wide. The eye-catching flowers are about four centimetres across, bluish-violet with deep violet, starry markings.
The berries are egg-shaped, green when immature and age to bright orange. Berries are eaten by birds. The species name means small bird and refers to how partial birds are to the berries and seeds. We have observed Currawongs and Silvereyes eating berries.
Solanum aviculare seedlings have appeared around Yallaroo. The seeds must pass, undigested through birds. We have a dead Eucalypt that is surrounded by Kangaroo Apple seedlings. Seeds must rain down from birds when they are perched in the tree.
Solanum aviculare is widespread and occurs in all eastern Australian states, including Tasmania. The species also occurs in New Zealand and New Guinea. Kangaroo Apple has become naturalised in South Australia and Western Australia.
An extract, from leaves and unripe berries, is used in the manufacture of contraceptives.
Kangaroo Apple is quick growing and may be short-lived. Light pruning will keep plants bushy and prolong their lives.
Propagate from seed and cuttings which strike rapidly.