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Western Nightshade

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Wild Flowers of Central Australia
Western Nightshade
Solanum coactiliferum

Solanum coactiliferum is a species common in central Australia. S. coactiliferum has a consistently 4-lobed corolla, slender leaves and a somewhat oblate fruit.

The common name is the Western Nightshade and like most in the genus Solanum, have purple coloured flowers. The leaves are grey to silvery, narrow-oblong and slightly recurved. The stem usually has prickles.

Whilst the seeds of Solanum coactiliferum has some natural toxins, the fruit is said to be roasted by the Aborigines before eating.

The Solanum coactiliferum is not to be confused with S. sturtianum that has a 5-lobed corolla, leaves that are broader and more silvery, and a globular black fruit with brittle epicarp.

In Central Australia and the Northern Territory, the genus Solanum that include the bush tomato are usually found as small shrubs anywhere from 20 cm to about 1 metre in height.

There are many Solanum species that resemble Solanum centrale, and only some of them produce edible fruit. Some closely related species produce fruit that are toxic.

The unripe fruit contains the toxin solanine (the same as that found in green potatoes) and must be fully ripened before consumption.

S. sturtianum is poisonous and can usually be recognised by the yellow or black dry brittle fruits.

Wild Flowers in Central Australia

Western Nightshade

Solanum sturtianum has a four point star-shaped flower, .

Western Nightshade (Solanum coactiliferum)

Western Nightshade (Solanum coactiliferum)

Western Nightshade (Solanum coactiliferum)

Western Nightshade (Solanum coactiliferum)

Western Nightshade (Solanum coactiliferum)

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