Silver-leaf bitter apple

Silver-leaf bitter apple

Solanum elaeagnifolium (Solanaceae)

Common Name:

Silver-leaf bitter apple

Scientific Name:

Solanum elaeagnifolium (Solanaceae)

Alternative common names:

Satansbos, bloubos, silwerblaarbitterappel (Afrikaans)


An herbaceous shrub growing to up 60cm high with felty stems and deep, spreading roots. The stems and undersurfaces of the leaves are covered with white or silvery, felt-like hairs. Orange or reddish prickles on the stems and undersides of the leaves. Greyish or silvery-green leaves, often wavy and folded upwards along their midribs. Mauve, blue or white flowers. It produces shiny green berries with white patches turning yellow. The young fruits and leaves are poisonous.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

North and 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?

It is found in all provinces in South Africa

How does it spread?

Seed dispersal

Why is it a problem?

Forms dense spreading infestations which compete with crop plants. It is extremely difficult to eradicate as it has deep, spreading roots and the ability to regenerate from small root fragments. The plants are poisonous and unpalatable

What does it look like?

General description: An herbaceous shrub growing up to 60cm high with felty leaves and stems.
Leaves: Greyish or silvery-green leaves, often wavy and folded upwards along their midribs.
Flowers: Mauve, blue or white flowers appear from October to March.
Fruit/seeds: Shiny green berries with white patches, eventually turning yellow

Does the plant have any uses?

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