Thank you for visiting our website.
Please note that the site is not fully functional at the moment as we are in the process of re-developing. We hope that you will find the available resources helpful in the meantime.
In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more
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.
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)