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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

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Solanum mauritianum

Common name:


Scientific name:

Solanum mauritianum (Solanaceae)

Alternative common names:

bugtree, flannel weed, woolly nightshade (English); luisboom, groot bitterappel (Afrikaans); uBhoqo, umbanga banga (isiZulu)

A shrub or small tree up to 4m high covered with whitish-felty hairs. Dull green leaves that are velvety above and white-felty beneath which emit a strong smell when bruised. Purple flowers in compact, terminal clusters on densely felty stalks up to 10cm long all year round. Spherical berries which start off green and turn yellow, in compact terminal clusters. Hairy leaves and stems are a respiratory tract and skin irritant. Unripe fruits are poisonous.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    South America

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Western Cape,Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and Limpopo

    How does it spread?

    Seed dispersal

    Why is it a problem?

    Competes with and replaces indigenous riverine and forest margin species. Also competes with young trees in plantations, particularly pines and black wattle, inhibiting growth and causing stem deformation. It is a host of the KwaZulu-Natal fruit fly which is an economic pest. It has no fodder value and the plants are generally avoided by grazing animals. The unripe fruits are poisonous and the hairy leaves and stems can cause allergic dermatitis and asthma

    What does it look like?

    General description: A large, broad-leaved shrub with velvety stems and leaves growing up to 4m high. Leaves: Dull green leaves that are velvety above and white-felty beneath which emit a strong noxious smell when crushed. Flowers: Purple, in compact terminal clusters, on densely felty stalks up to 100mm long. Fruit/seeds: Spherical berries which start off green and turn yellow, in compact terminal clusters

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Ornament. Birds eat the fruits

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Weeping sage (Buddleja auriculata), false olive (Buddleja saligna), sagewood (Buddleja salviifolia), large spurflower bush (Plectranthus ecklonii), healing-leaf tree (Solanum giganteum), wild medlar (Vangueria infausta)

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…


This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training


During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group


Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?


On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released


Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised


The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more