Olive Pink Botanic Garden
Solanum ellipticum is a striking looking plant that are at their best after rain. Known locally as Potato Bush, like most Solanum species they have purple mauve flowers. Unlike the Solanum centrale that has a more star-shaped flower, the Solanum ellipticum corolla is a more pentagonal shape, measuring 20–30 mm diameters across. The bright yellow stamen/anthers are about 4–5 mm long. There are 1 to 7 flowers on the inflorescence.
Extreme care should be taken when identifying this plant as Solanum ellipticum can be mistaken for Solanum quadriloculatum, often being found growing among edible species.
A variable plant, the Potato Bush is also sometimes commonly known as Bush Tomato.
Awele-awele or Alperrantyeye — Solanum ellipticum
The roots of this plant are used by Arrernte people to treat toothache.
The roots are baked in ash and then peeled and placed on the aching tooth.
The fruit of Awele-awele is also an important bushfood, but can act as a laxative if too many are eaten.
There are many Solanum species that resemble Solanum centrale, and only some of them produce edible fruit. Some closely related species produce fruit that are toxic.
The unripe fruit contains the toxin solanine (the same as that found in green potatoes) and must be fully ripened before consumption.
S. sturtianum is poisonous and can usually be recognised by the yellow or black dry brittle fruits.
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- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Eudicots
- Clade: Asterids
- Order: Solanales
- Family: Solanaceae
- Genus: Solanum
- Species: S. ellipticum
- Binomial name: Solanum ellipticum