Solanum torvum

Name and classification

Solanum torvum Sw.
Family Solanaceae

Common names

turkeyberry, susumber

Disseminule

seed

Description

Fruit a berry with 210–220 seeds. Seeds ovate to broadly ovate, broadly elliptic, or nearly circular, infrequently C-shaped in outline, compressed, variously bent or curved due to crowding, 2–3 mm long, 1.5–2 mm wide, 0.3–0.6 mm thick, cross section narrowly oblong to narrowly elliptic. Glossy, light to dark yellowish-brown. Surface reticulations distinctly undulate. Hilum subbasal, marginal, a narrow slit 0.5–0.8 mm long, flush to slightly recessed, slit closed or with a small central +/– circular hole. Embryo linear-curved, seen twice in cross section; endosperm readily visible.

Identification considerations

Solanaceae seeds of moderate size (over 1.5 mm long) are often difficult to distinguish from one another. Characters that may aid in identification are size range, seed outline, surface reticulation (if visible), hilar shape, and embryo shape. Testa color is not a reliable character, as it may be affected by aging and length of time spent in a mature berry.

Compare with:

Lycium ferocissimum Miers

Solanum tampicense Dunal

Solanum viarum Dunal

Distribution

tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world: West and Central Africa, Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Australia, and many Pacific Islands; in the western hemisphere: Mexico, Central America, Greater and Lesser Antilles, South America (Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Venezuela), United States

native to the Caribbean

Habitat

prefers moist, fertile soil, will tolerate drought; wet thickets, dry brushy plains, woodland clearings, rocky hillsides; a weed in pastures, open native vegetation, swamps, roadsides, waste places

General information

Solanum torvum is a prickly shrub or small tree, up to 5 m tall. It is cultivated in the tropics for its sharp-tasting, immature fruits. The plant may have been introduced into Florida for cultivation trials before 1900 and has been found cultivated there within the last 10 years. This plant forms impenetrable thickets in pastures, preventing animals from grazing. The seeds are dispersed by birds and bats.

seeds

seeds

marginal view of seeds

marginal view of seeds

A, seed; B, longitudinal section of seed showing embryo; C, transection of seed drawing by Lynda E. Chandler

A, seed; B, longitudinal section of seed showing embryo; C, transection of seed drawing by Lynda E. Chandler

hilum of seed

hilum of seed

surface reticulation of seed

surface reticulation of seed

flowers and immature fruits; photo: © Forest and Kim Starr, USGS

flowers and immature fruits; photo: © Forest and Kim Starr, USGS

fruits; photo: © 2004 by Philip A. Thomas

fruits; photo: © 2004 by Philip A. Thomas