Solanum viarum Dunal
tropical soda apple
Fruit a berry with 180 to 420 seeds. Seeds lenticular, subcompressed, outline obovate or broadly elliptic to nearly round, ca. 2–2.8 mm long, 1.8–2.1 mm wide, 0.5–0.8 mm thick, cross section spindle-shaped. Testa softly glistening, light to dark red-brown, finely reticulate, but appears pebbled. Hilum marginal, a narrow linear to spindle-shaped whitish slit, flush and closed, or with a depression or small hole(s), 0.7–0.9 mm long; may be subbasal or in notch depending on shape of seed. Embryo linear, spirally coiled, seen three times in cross section; endosperm readily visible.
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.
Lycium ferocissimum Miers
Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. (non-FNW)
Solanum tampicense Dunal
Solanum torvum Swartz
India, Nepal, Mexico, Greater and Lesser Antilles, areas of Africa and South America, United States
native to South America (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay)
a weed in agricultural fields, groves, pastures, ditches, disturbed sites, natural areas
Solanum viarum is a prickly perennial up to 2 m tall. In the U.S. S. viarum first appeared in Florida and has since spread to adjacent states. It has become a major concern in Florida’s agricultural and natural areas. It can form huge monocultural stands, crowding out forage and native species and preventing cattle from seeking shade. Seeds are dispersed by cattle and wildlife that eat the fruit. The plant can regenerate from its roots. In India, S. viarum is grown as a source for steroids.