Erect, few-branched shrubs with one or few stems from base, the lower branches ascending, the upper ones spreading, 0.5–2 m tall. Stems pubescent with simple gland-tipped hairs 0.2–0.8 mm long and usually with scattered longer simple hyaline hairs up to 2 mm long, sometimes these latter predominating and shorter hairs rare, rarely subglabrous; stem spines numerous, straight, slender, 2–8 mm long, spreading or slightly reflexed, rarely (mainly in Asia) with stouter recurved spines up to 13 mm long from enlarged bases up to 5 mm wide, with sparse minute stipitate glands, rarely glabrous or with additional simple acute hairs ca. 0.2 mm long toward base of larger spines.
Sympodial units 2-foliate, single or geminate.
Leaves simple, the blades 4–18 x 3–16 cm, ca. 1–1.25 times as long as wide, often dimorphic, the major blades 7–18 x 6–16 cm, broadly ovate to orbicular, the minor blades about half the size of the majors and differing only in size, thin-textured, glandular-pubescent adaxially with simple gland-tipped hairs less than 0.5 mm long mixed with longer 2–4-celled simple hyaline hairs to 2.8 mm long, short glandular-pubescent abaxially with simple gland-tipped hairs less than 0.5 mm long, with longer 2–4-celled simple hyaline hairs up to 2.5 mm long, and with sparse (rarely lacking) to numerous sessile 4–6 (–7–9)-rayed stellae, the few-rayed stellae plane, the many-rayed ones increasingly multangulate, 0.5–1.3 mm wide; base truncate to subcordate; margin always decidedly lobed, the lobing various, sometimes lobed 1/3 way to the midrib with 2 pairs of obtuse, entire-margined triangular lobes, usually lobed halfway to midrib with 2–3 pairs of acute lobes, these with additional smaller acute lobes; apex acute; major petioles 3–9 cm, the pubescence similar to that of the stem, with 5–25 slender spreading spines similar to the straight spines of stem, but the longer ones up to 15 mm long, about 50% longer than the longest straight stem spines.
Inflorescences 0.1–0.8 cm, extra-axillary, unbranched, with 2–7 flowers, the lowermost 1–4 flowers fertile, the axes with pubescence similar to that of stem, armed with few to numerous, slender, acicular, spreading prickles up to 5 mm long; peduncle absent or rarely up to 0.8 cm; rachis 0–0.4 cm; pedicels 9–22 mm in flower, 15–25 mm in fruit, curved horizontally around the stem, terete, 1–2 mm in diameter, scarcely dilated toward the apex, spaced 1.5–3.5 mm apart, the male flowers articulated at the base.
Flowers with the calyx 7–8.5 mm long, lobed nearly to the base, the tube 1.5–2 mm, the lobes 5–6.5 long, 1.2–2.4 mm wide at the base, narrowly triangular, usually unequal, often appearing caudate-tipped on herbarium specimens, immediately after anthesis pointing forward and concealing the ovary, with pubescence similar to that of stem and pedicels; fruiting calyx accrescent, the lobes 10–11 long, 3.7–5 mm wide at the base, narrowly triangular, not completely covering the fruit. Corollas 1.3–3 cm in diameter, 8–13 mm long, stellate, thin-textured, white, the tube 1.5–2.5 mm, the lobes 9.2–10 mm long, 2.5–3.8 mm wide at the base, narrowly triangular, acute at apices, pilose abaxially with simple hyaline hairs up to 2.5 mm long, the shorter hairs perhaps all gland–tipped, glabrous adaxially. Stamens with filaments 1.6–2.3 mm; anthers 5.9–7.5 x 1–2 mm, attenuate, free, yellow, the pores small and directed distally. Ovary minutely stipitate-glandular; fertile style 6.2–6.8 x 0.5–0.6 mm, cylindrical, straight, glabrous; stigma 1 x 0.8 mm, capitate.
Fruit 2–3 cm in diameter, globose, light yellow at maturity, glabrous.
Seeds >100 per berry, (1.8–) 2.2–3(-5) mm in diameter, flattened, rounded to subreniform, yellowish tan.
Herbs to subshrubs, erect, 1-2(-3) m tall, copiously armed, minutely tomentose with simple, many-celled, mostly glandular hairs, often with a pinkish cast. Stems and branches terete, erect, loosely pilose with many-celled, simple and stellate hairs to 2 mm, armed with recurved flat prickles 1-5 × 2-10 mm and sometimes straight spines. Leaves sometimes unequal paired; petiole, stout, 3-7 cm, copiously prickly; leaf blade broadly ovate, 6-15 × 4-15 cm, with coarse, many-celled simple hairs and straight prickles on both surfaces, mixed with sparse, stellate hairs abaxially, base truncate to subhastate, margin 5-7-lobed or -parted, with angular or dentate sharp lobes, apex acute or obtuse. Inflorescences extra-axillary, short, 1-4-flowered scorpioid racemes; peduncle obsolete or to 1 cm. Pedicel 5-10 mm, pilose. Calyx campanulate, ca. 5.5 cm; lobes oblong-lanceolate, 5 × 1.5 mm, hairy and sometimes prickly abaxially. Corolla white; lobes lanceolate, ca. 4 × 14 mm, pubescent as on calyx. Filaments 1-2 mm; anthers lanceolate, acuminate, 6-7 mm. Ovary glabrous or minutely stipitate glandular. Style 6-7 mm. Berry pale yellow, globose, 2-3 cm in diam. Seeds light brown, lenticular, 2-2.8 mm in diam. Fl. Mar-Aug, fr. Nov-Dec.
Armed with nearly straight spines
White flowers 1/2 in. diam. and smooth brown-yellow nodding fruits.
Corolla white or whitish, occasionally suffused with mauve or purple, rotate or rotate-stelliform, with purple hairs; limb 10–22 mm across; lobes 6–10 × 2.5–5 mm, lanceolate, acuminate, with long simple hairs and also short apically glandular hairs intermixed outside, glabrous inside, reflexed.
Ovary 2 × 1.5–2 mm, ovoid or globose, with minute-stipitate glands ± dense mainly upwards and a few simple, short hairs near the base; style 6–10 mm long, somewhat exceeding the stamens in fertile flowers, straight, glabrous or with few short hairs at the base.
Stamen filaments 1–2 mm long; anthers 5.5–7 mm long, lanceolate or lanceolate-oblong in outline, manifestly cordate at the base.
Seeds ± numerous, pale fuscescent to brownish, sub-shining, (2)2.5–4.5 × 2–3 mm, compressed, reniform, elliptic or sub-circular in outline, ± smooth, manifestly reticulate all over, the margins sometimes thickened but not forming a wing.
Fruit somewhat shining, green and white or greenish-cream marbled or patterned to pale or dirty-yellow when ripe, 2–3 cm in diameter, globose, glabrous.
Flowers 5(6)-merous; pedicels 8–28 mm long, slender but thickened distally, ± densely villous to pilose with simple, spreading hairs, and also shorter, apically glandular hairs intermixed, ± prickly in fertile flowers and ± unarmed in sterile ones, in fruit elongated to 60 mm, erect to deflected.
Calyx 3–7 mm long, 4–10 mm across, campanulate to cupular, ± deeply lobed, very accrescent, moderately or shortly villous or pilose and ± prickly in fertile flowers; lobes unequal, 2–4 × 0.8–2 mm, triangular to linear-lanceolate, acuminate, reflexed, in fruit enlarged to 8 × 5 mm and concealing it only at the base when ripe.
Perennial herb or small shrub, up to 1.2(2) m high, unpleasantly smelling, usually copiously armed; hairs simple, pluricellular, ± spreading or appressed, of various lengths, a few stellate with a long central ray and short lateral rays, also shorter apically glandular hairs and ± sessile glands; prickles stramineous or yellowish, often violaceous at the base, shining, 1–18 mm long, 0.5–1.5 mm wide at the base, laterally sub-compressed, slender, subulate, straight or more rarely rather recurved, spreading or rarely slightly reflexed, striate-sulcate and glabrous.
Branches sometimes purple tinged, with short hairs, long tapered hairs, some glandular hairs and abundant slender prickles.
Leaves solitary, the upper ones often appearing geminate; petiole 1–9.5 cm long; lamina membranous, 2.5–16 × 2.5–19 cm, broadly ovate, sub-orbicular or ovate-cordate, sometimes ovate-oblong, base ± cordate and ± unequal-sided, apex acute or somewhat obtuse to rounded, coarsely serrate or irregularly lobed, often ± deeply, the lobes often acute, but also obtuse or rounded, occasionally acuminate, sinuate-dentate to deeply lobulate, rarely ± entire, conspicuously but rather thinly covered with long simple hairs, smaller hairs and glands above, more densely so beneath, the hairs whitish or rarely yellowish, and also generally numerous straight prickles, mainly on midrib and nerves, on both surfaces.
Cymes lateral, leaf-remote, unbranched, racemiform, 2–3.5 cm long, 2–7-flowered, ± densely villous to pilose, rarely with purplish hairs, ± prickly, usually the lowest flower(s) more prickly, hermaphrodite and fertile, occasionally flowers solitary; peduncle none or almost so.
Spiny subshrub, 0.6-0.9 m high. Spines not exceeding 2 mm across base, straight. Leaves deeply pinnately lobed, lobes acute, with scattered simple hairs. Inflorescence lateral. Corolla 20-30 mm in diameter, lobes narrow. Berries orange-red. Flowers white.
Shrub, up to 1.5 m high; with patently hairy stems. Spines straight. Leaves petiolate; blade broadly ovate-oblong, up to 190 mm long, ± as wide, apex acute, base cordate to rounded, margins deeply pinnately lobed, lobes acute, surfaces with scattered, simple hairs. Flowers: inflorescence lateral; corolla 20-30 mm in diameter, lobes narrow, white; Oct.-Feb. Fruit an orange-red berry, 20-24 mm in diameter.
Annual, sparsely branched herb or undershrub up to 1.5 m high, pubescence highly variable, dense to sparse (plant rarely nearly glabrous). Stems tinged purple and green, rarely densely pubescent, with simple, uniseriate, multicellular hairs of unequal lengths, up to 4 mm long, heavily armed with many slender, acicular, straight, spreading or slightly reflexed prickles up to 12 mm long with base 0.5 mm broad. Leaves ovate, up to 160 x 180 mm, base truncate or slightly cordate, lobation variable, usually doubly or dentately lobed to 1/3 width of leaf, with 3 or 4 pairs of major acute, triangular lobes, middle lobe up to 55 mm long, dark green when fresh, usually drying dull dark green, with simple pilose hairs on both surfaces of leaves, rarely with stellate hairs on underside, prickles on midrib and petiole slender, ±15 mm long, base ±2 mm broad, prickles on primary lateral veins slender, ±7 mm long, purple near base, upper part yellow, the base 0.8 mm broad: petiole 4-80 mm long. Inflorescences simple. 3-5(6)-flowered: peduncles up to 0.5 mm long; pedicels ±10 mm long. Calyx: lobes often unequal, elongating immediately after anthesis and concealing immature fruits with subcaudate lobe tips, pubescent, becoming prickly in fruit. Corolla 10-15 x 23-30 mm, stellate, white, greenish or yellow-green, sometimes with a purple tint, rarely with purplish hairs. Stamens: filaments green to yellow; anthers yellow. Style white; pistil pale green. Fruit nodding, globose, 15-30 mm diam., smooth, pale green with medium green stripes or white with green reticulation when young, dirty yellow or brownish when ripe. Seeds 2-4 mm diam., brownish, moderately flattened, seed coat closely investing endosperm, with margin sometimes thickened but not wing-like.
Forest margins, clearings, forest paths, undergrowth, plantations, disturbed areas, weedy. Temperate and subtropical summer rainfall.
Brazil; introduced to tropical Africa and elsewhere. South Africa: mainly Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, eastern Cape; rare in Free State, Western Cape, also Lesotho.
Solanum aculeatissiumu is a weedy shrub, in Brazil in disturbed or pastured forest, roadsides or campo, from Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina, with a few collections from further north, at elevations from 400–1200 m; in Africa at edges of gallery, sclerophyll, rain or mountain forest, secondary vegetation, roadsides, savannas or secondary bamboo forest, entirely south of the Sahara, mostly in the eastern uplands of the lakes region, scattered through the rain forest to the west and into South Africa, at elevations from 1000–2400 m, rarely almost to sea level. There are only sporadic collections from Asia since the type of S. khasianum was collected in 1847–1851. It is significant that when Sen Gupta published S. khasianum var. chatterjeeanum (= S. viarum) in 1971, he already had more collections of his new variety than of S. khasianum var. khasianum (=S. aculeatissimum). He had access to the larger Indian herbaria, but all seven collections of var. khasianum were from Assam State and all were collected in the period of 1850–1900. Solanum viarum is almost certainly a very recent introduction to Asia, perhaps mostly during the Second World War (Babu, 1971), although there is a collection from West Bengal dated 1932 (Parker 3195). While this latter species is fast becoming a common and widespread weed,it is possible that S. aculeatissimum was introduced during the early colonial period from Africa and has not been able to successfully establish itself.
In Africa - Local Names (languages in parentheses). Democratic Republic of the Congo: Igitoborugwa (Kinyaruanda); Tshataborura (Dogo). Kenya: Entobo ya sukuma (Kisii); Kamurwaba (Kikuyu); Lopotwo (Turgen); Ltuleleli (Samburu); Ntulelei (Samburu); Oldulelei-lendim; Syab-melil (Masai, Kipsigis); Shiradalva (Pokot); Siyameli (Lumbwa); Tulele (Dorobo); Tullelle (Derobe). Mozambique: Donguissa. Sierra Leone: Ankunt (Tamne); Koligujie (Mende). Sudan: Lokaboich (Didinga); Ochok (Lagwayo). Tanzania: Chamiva (Shambaa); Ndula (Hehe); Nduo (Chagga); Ntufululu (Shambaa). Uganda: Amabona; Enchuchu (Lukiga); Ntengo enene. Zimbabwe: Nonorua.
Uses. Browsed by wildlife and livestock; fruits and roots used medicinally in Kenya and Tanzania.