Brazilian nightshade

The lavender flowers and red berries of the Brazilian nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum) that is taking hold in the Dawn Road Reserve.

The lavender flowers and red berries of the Brazilian nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum) that is taking hold in the Dawn Road Reserve.

One of the newer, yet very invasive, weeds encountered in the Dawn Road Reserve has been Brazilian nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum), a deceptively pretty creeper with lavender florets and berries that are green when immature and bright red when ripe.

A native of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and tropical South America, the Brazilian nightshade has become a weed species after being introduced here then escaping from domestic gardens to invade surrounding bushland, choking out a range of native plant species.

Brazilian nightshade can grow to 5m in height (that is taller than a single-storey house!). It has three- to nine-lobed leaves, with mauve or purple flowers that have petals 10-15 mm long, and relatively large shiny red berries (8-12 mm across) that contain the plant’s seeds.

Like most pest species with berries, their seeds are widely spread by birds who eat the berries. However, the berries are poisonous to humans!!

Source: Brisbane City Council Weed Identification Tool

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Images: Trina McLellan

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