|Botanical Name||Solanum marginatum|
DescriptionWhite-edged nightshade is an armed, much branched perennial shrub or small tree which grows to 5 metres. The stems have yellow coloured prickles, up to 1.5cm long, young branches a hairy white-felted appearance. The leaves are broadly ovate, indented and prickly on both sides. The lower surface is always white-felted and the upper surface is similar on young leaves, while older leaves are green with white edges and prominent white veins. Leaves are 100 to 120mm long and 8 to 10cm wide. The white or sometimes pale mauve flowers are 250 to 350mm in diameter, have 5 segments and grow in groups of 2 to 10 at the ends of branches. The round fruit are 150 to 40mm in diameter and are borne on stout, woody, prickly stalks. The fruit are mottled green at first, turning yellow when ripe and contain many light-brown seeds which are up to 2.5mm long.
Where is it found?White-edged nightshade is mainly found in scrub, on poorer pastoral land, wasteland or bush margins that are in warm, sunny situations in higher rainfall areas.
Why is it a problem?White-edged nightshade has the ability to form dense scrub communities that are impenetrable to humans and stock alike. It is also a threat to pasture production on marginal land and therefore a threat to livestock production. This plant also has the potential to become a problem in bush margins.
How does it spread?The fruit is not particularly attractive to birds or other animals but this method of dispersal cannot be discounted. Spread occurs mainly through movement of the fruit in water flowing over the soil surface, or when soil contaminated with seeds is moved by various means.
How do I get rid of it?
Smaller plants can be grubbed out, as long as most of the taproot is removed.
Burn larger plants, just leave small plants on ground once dug out.
Larger plants can be controlled by stump swabbing with a mixture of 1 part Tordon Brushkiller to 10 parts water or by spraying with Tordon Brushkiller (60 mls to 10 litres water) or Tordon Gold (120 mls to 10 litres water).
This native of North Africa was originally introduced as an ornamental plant during the 1880's. It was reported wild in Auckland by 1883, and by the 1930's was rated to be "frequent in waste places about Auckland". Concerted efforts were made to destroy these early infestations and it is now less common than in the first half of the century, however it still occurs at one site within the Auckland region.
In the Bay of Plenty Region White-edged Nighshade can be found on Mt Maunganui and Matakana Island.
This plant is prohibited from propagation, sale and distribution within New Zealand!