Erect shrub, 1.5-3 m, with soft bristles or unarmed. Young stems terete, densely stellate-pubescent to glabrous and with soft bristles, with multangualte sessile or variously stalked trichomes, the stalks to 0.2 mm, the rays 5-30, 0.05-0.2 mm long, the midpoints reduced to a gland or elongated up to 1 mm, with minute simple hairs; bristles 2.5-10 mm long, 0.2-0.4 mm wide at base, straight, filiform, flexuous, perpendicular to the stem, purple-black, drying yellow-brown or whitish, glabrous, often with a single stellate trichome at the apex, spaced less than 1 mm apart; bark of older stems glabrescent, brown to gray.
Sympodial units plurifoliate.
Leaves simple, the blades 8-23 cm long, 2-9.5 cm wide, 2.5-3.5 times longer than wide, elliptic, membranous, drying concolorous, yellow-green to red-brown, glabrescent on both surfaces, with multangulate sessile or stalked trichomes, the stalks to 0.2 mm, the rays (5-)10-20, 0.05-0.25 mm long, the midpoints reduced to a gland or elongated to 1 mm, with minute simple hairs, with 0(-10) bristles on both surfaces; the primary veins 8-12 pairs, the tertiary venation often visible to the naked eye on the abaxial side of the leaf; base cuneate to short-attenuate; margins entire or very shallowly lobed to undulate; apex long-acuminate; petiole (1-)2-5(-6.5) cm long, 1/6-1/3 of the leaf blade length, glabrescent, with 0(-10) bristles.
Inflorescences apparently terminal or lateral, 5-19 cm long, branched more than once, usually with primary and secondary branching, with 20-50 flowers, 5-15 flowers open at any one time, weakly stellate-pubescent to glabrescent, with 0-30 bristles; peduncle 20-60(-100) mm long; pedicels 0.6-1 cm long, erect to recurved, articulated at the base, glabrous to moderately stellate-pubescent, unarmed; pedicel scars spaced 0.5-5 mm apart.
Flowers 4-5-merous, usually all perfect, occasionally with a few short-styled staminate flowers at the inflorescence apex. Calyx 1.5-3.5 mm long, moderately stellate-pubescent to glabrescent, unarmed, the lobes 0.5-1.5 mm long, deltate, apically acute to long-acuminate. Corolla 0.8-1.7 cm in diameter, white to pale mauve, stellate, lobed for ca. 3/4 of the way to the base, the lobes 4-7 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, narrow-deltate, reflexed or spreading, glabrescent abaxially, the trichomes multangulate, sessile, the rays 5-15, 0.05-0.2 mm long, the midpoints reduced to a gland or elongated to 1 mm long. Stamens equal, with the filament tube ca. 1 mm long, the free portion of the filaments 0.5-0.8 mm long; anthers (2.3-)3-4(-4.5) mm long, connivent, tapering, poricidal at the tips. Ovary with minute glandular hairs and a few stellate trichomes near the apex; style 0.5-0.7 cm long, filiform, almost straight, glabrous to stellate-pubescent in the lower 1/3.
Fruit a spherical berry, 10-35 per infructescence, 0.6-1 cm in diameter, the pericarp smooth, evenly green when young, red to purple-black at maturity, glabrous; fruiting pedicels 1-1.6 cm long, 0.3-0.8 mm in diameter at base, woody, erect, unarmed; fruiting calyx lobes not elongating, ca. 1/4 the length of the mature fruit, reflexed, unarmed.
Seeds ca. 10 per berry, 3.5-4.5 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, flattened-reniform, dull yellow to orange-brown.
Leaves alternate or sub opposite, mostly rather closely set at the ends of branches; petiole (0.5)1–5 cm long; lamina membranous, 4–21 × 1.5–6.5 cm, lanceolate to oblong or elliptic to oblanceolate, base cuneate, narrowing to the petiole and unequal- or subequal-sided, apex acute, usually ± acuminate, entire or slightly repand-sinuate, hairy at first but soon ± glabrous above, paler and ± glabrous beneath except for a few remaining hairs along the larger nerves and sometimes also a few bristles on veins mainly towards the base, with (7)8–10(11) pairs of lateral nerves.
Branches with whitish to ± brownish, scurfy tomentum, ± glabrescent, younger parts generally densely covered with bristles, these rarely lacking (see note).
Flowers 5(6)-merous, ± nodding; pedicels 5–12 mm long, slender, in fruit elongating to 16 mm, somewhat thickened to the apex, ± erect.
Cymes terminal, becoming lateral and extra-axillary, often forked dichotomously 3–5 times, paniculiform to corymbiform, 3–13 cm long, dense, with many flowers, these clustered at the extremities, hairy like the branches, soon glabrescent, ± bristly; peduncle (1.2)2–4.5 cm long, with many to very few bristles.
Corolla white to pale blue or mauve, stelliform; limb (9)10–12(14) mm across; lobes 3–5 × 1.7 mm, lanceolate, elliptic-lanceolate to linear, acute to acuminate, often somewhat cucullate, densely pulverulent to tomentose outside at least near the apex, glabrous except for few stellate hairs on the midvein and near the apex inside, ± spreading to reflexed.
Calyx 1.5–2.5 mm long, 2.5–4 mm across, not very accrescent, campanulate or cupular, pulverulent-tomentose; lobes 0.7–2 × 0.5–1.5 mm, elliptic- or ovate- to lanceolate-triangular, occasionally subulate, obtuse or acute, ± acuminate.
Stamen filaments 0.3–0.5 mm long; anthers 2.5–3.5 mm long, lanceolate-elliptic in outline, slightly tapering to the apex, somewhat incurved.
Seeds numerous, 3 × 2 mm, compressed, ± reniform.
Ovary 0.7–1 mm in diameter, globose or ± ovoid, minutely glandular and also with a few stellate hairs apically; style 4–6 mm long, exceeding the stamens, ± straight, with a few stellate hairs and minute glands from the base to about the middle.
Fruits often numerous, shining red when ripe, becoming brownish-olive-green when dry, (7)8–10(11) mm in diameter, globose, glabrous, appearing edible.
Shrub or small tree 0.6–3.6 m high; sympodia plurifoliate; hairs stellate, ± sessile, regular, with many short rays, mostly minute but some modified as bristles, these pale straw-coloured to violet or brownish, up to 7 mm long, sometimes ± lignified and prickle-like when old.
Local Names. Kenya: Mutonga (Moon 747). Tanzania: Mjujui (Sambaa language, Ngoundai 110), Njujui (Kishambaa language, Muze 8), Nguguli (Grant 29), Furumvu (Kisafwa language, “applied more or less indiscriminately to spineless solanums of this size”, St Clair-Thompson 854).