Solanum aphyodendron S. Knapp
SolanaceaePotato Family

Fruiting habit
Fruiting habit

  - a 2-5 m treelet, no spines
  - paired glabrous leaves less than 5 cm wide
  - white flower with yellow anthers
  - rank odor

Description: Treelet, 2-5 m; leaves often paired, to 4 x 12 cm, glabrous, lanceolate, with a strong rank odor when shredded; flowers 1 cm, white with yellow anthers; fruit to 1.5 cm, globose, green to dull yellow when mature with many flat seeds.

Similar species
Solanum brenesii
Solanum pastillum
Solanum rovirosanum
Solanum tuerckheimii

Local distribution: Pacific slope at 1200-1600 m; Atlantic slope at 1100-1600 m.

Species range: Mexico to Bolivia

Habitat: Old pasture, roadside and forest edge.

Episcada salvinia
Pteronymia simplex

Phenology: Flower: feb, apr-oct. Fruit: apr, aug-dec.

Pollinators: Bees

Seed dispersers: Bats

Comments: This tree was identified years ago as S. nudum, which is now considered to be a distinct species restricted to South America. S. aphyodendron is abundant in areas of early succession. The torn leaves produce a strong, acrid odor. As in other species of Solanum, the flowers do not produce nectar and offer pollen as the only reward to visitors, which tends to elliminate almost everything but bees. The bees hold the anthers in their mandibles and vibrate them using their wing muscles to make the pollen issue out of the tiny pores at the anther's tip. Bats remove the fruits so consistently that ripe fruits are seldom seen.

Credits: Images and text copyright 2002-2006 by William A. Haber,