Solanum laciniatum


Solanum: Derivation uncertain - possibly from the Latin word sol, meaning "sun," referring to its status as a plant of the sun. Another possibility is that the root was solare, meaning "to soothe," or solamen, meaning "a comfort," which would refer to the soothing effects of the plant upon ingestion.

Common Name(s)

poroporo, bullibulli

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Solanum laciniatum Aiton



Brief Description

Fleshy shrub to 4m tall bearing dark green thin wide leaves that are divided into 1-3 large sharp lobes and with large purpleish ruffled flowers that have a projecting yellow centre. Leaves 10-80cm long by 4-6cm wide. Flowers dished, up to 50cm wide. Fruit yellow or orange, 23-30mm long. POISONOUS.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Solanum laciniatum f. novozelandicum Herasim.


Indigenous. North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Widespread from the Hauraki Gulf Islands and Auckland south. In the northern part of its range actively spreading northwards caused it would seem through establishment through bird dispersal of fruit from garden plantings. Also present in south eastern Australia and Tasmania. Naturalised in parts of China and Russia.


Coastal to montane (0-400 m a.s.l.). usually in disturbed successional habitats, in shrublands, gullies, alongside riversides, on forested margins and in reverting pasture. Often appears following fires. A common urban weed in many parts of the country.


Erect to spreading, glabrous, soft-wooded shrub up to 4 x 3 m. Stems initially somewhat fleshy, purple-green, dark green to dark purple coloured, maturing with fine, firm, grey chartaceous bark, rather brittle. Leaves in stout petioles up to 50 mm long; lamina 100-800 x 40-60 mm, sometimes even larger, very dark green to purple-green, entire or pinnatisect, (then with 1-4(-6) pairs of lobes almost cut to midrib) on the same plant; lobes up to 50 x 20 mm, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, or more or less elliptic; base decurrent on petiole; apex obtuse to acuminate. Flowers in 2-10-many-flowered cymes, peduncles up to 20 mm long at anthesis, decurved, slender but robust; pedicels pendent at fruiting. Calyx 5-8 mm long, accrescent; lobes broadly ovate-triangular, mucronate, much < tube. Corolla 50 mm diameter, rotate, violet or white, lobes very borad, margins frilled or ruffled, apices emarginate. Anthes 3-4 mm long. Berry 23-30 mm long, yellow or orange when ripe, fleshy, ovoid, ellipsoid, pendent, stoen cells obvious and frequent similar or shape to seeds. Seeds 2.2-2.5 mm diameter, obovoid though somewhat asymetric.

Similar Taxa

Often confused with the now much less common S. aviculare G.Forst., which in its typical state has narrower leaves which are less frequently pinnatifid, usually much narrower 10-40 mm diameter) with campanulate-rotate flowers with narrower acute tipped lobes, without distinctly frilled (ruffled), smaller seeds (1-2 mm cf 2-3 mm) and a different chromosome number (2n = 46 cf 2n = 92). S. lacinatum differs from S. aviculare f. latifolium (G.T.S.Baylis) G.T.S.Baylis by its broader, wider lobes with frilled/ruffled margins and an emarginate apex, and by the chromosome number (2n = 92 cf 2n = 46).


Throughout the year

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


Throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and semi-hardwood cuttings. Tolerant of heavy shade and full sun, and dry or wet soils and cold tolerant. Extremely fast growing and can become invasive. It should also be noted that as with all poroporo the green fruits are extremely toxic.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 92

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Cultural Use/Importance

The fruits of this species and S. aviculare G.Forst. var. aviculare yield important steroid precursors, so both are widely and commericially grown, especially in eastern Europe, Russia and China.

Poisonous plant

As with Solanum aviculare var. aviculare, the yellow or green berries are poisonous but when ripe (orange) they lose much of their toxicity. The symptoms are often delayed up to 6-12 hours and may include a fever, sweating, nausea and abdominal pain. Click on this link for more information about Poisonous native plants.

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Solanum laciniatum Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=2261 (Date website was queried)



Fact Sheet prepared for the NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 12 May 2006. Description by P.J. de Lange with some elements based on Allan (1961) and Webb et al. (1988).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington.

Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.

This page last updated on 29 Nov 2018