Solanum giganteum


Solanum giganteum
Common names: Healing leaf tree, red bitter apple; Afrikanaans: Geneesblaarboom; Xhosa: iCuba lasendle

August is a lean time for birds, not many trees have fruit or flowers.  The bright red berries of the small tree Solanum giganteum are therefore a pleasant surprise along the edges of forests. The big elliptic leaves are dark green above and pale, with white woolly hairs, underneath.  The lilac coloured flowers are clustered in terminal heads on hairy branches that have short spikes. 

Traditionally, the fruit is used to treat throat ulcers and to curdle milk.  The leaves are used for festering sores – the soft woolly underside often used to clean the wound and the smooth upper surface used as a dressing.  Sometimes the fresh juice and leaves are made into an ointment for the same purpose.

Solanum giganteum is related to the invasive alien Bugweed, which we all do our best to eradicate.  Invasive plants are a threat to the biodiversity of the Midlands.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower