Solanum sisymbriifolium by Bob Mitchell - Part 2 of 2 

Solanaceae is a large and internationally important family and there are 91 genera and 2450 species found pretty well world wide, but mostly in South America.  Solanaceae includes major crop plants - potato, tomato, peppers and tobacco; but others which are hallucinogens, or very poisonous.  Many are excellent garden and house plants, but there are also some noxious weeds.

The species of Solanum range from tall trees, shrubs and lianes, to perennial herbs and annuals.

In the wild Solanum sisymbriifolium is a small shrub is originally from Argentina and now naturalised around the world.  Solanum sisymbriifolium was named by Jean Babtiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) in Tableau Encyclopédique et Methodique ... Botanique 2: 25. 1794.  It was collected by Philibert Commerson (1727-1773), French royal botanist and assistant to LouisAntoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) on his voyage round the world from 1766 to 1768. 

This erect-growing shrub will grow to 1 metre and we read in warm temperate areas it has been used as a hedge for is bristles keep out livestock.  In some countries it is a problem weed.  It is frost tender.  The tiny fruit is edible and like a small tomato.  Solanum sisymbriifolium featured in Curtis’ Botanical Magazine 2568 in 1825.

Research at Rothamstead is using Solanum sisymbriifolium as a trap crop to try to control potato cyst nematode.