Herb: Oondoroo

Latin name: Solanum simile

Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)

Medicinal use of Oondoroo:

A source of solasonine - used in the manufacture of steroidal drugs and contraceptives. The unripe fruit is the richest source.

Description of the plant:


2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Arid environments, including coastal sands. Disturbed soils.

Edible parts of Oondoroo:

Fruit. The fruit is up to 15mm in diameter. No further details are given but some caution is advised and the unripe fruit should not be eaten at all.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants can be grown as a screening hedge in climates suitable for them.

Propagation of Oondoroo:

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. Germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 20C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing the plants as annuals, plant them out after the last expected frosts and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing well. If growing as a perennial, especially in areas at the limits of its cold-hardiness, it will probably be better to grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Give them fairly large pots (12cm or larger) because they have very strong root growth. Top growth might die back over winter, but the roots should survive if temperatures in the greenhouse do not fall below about -5C. Plant them out in early summer of the following year. The plants will be somewhat hardier in their second winter. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very easy, the cuttings root within a couple of weeks. Pot them up in fairly large pots and overwinter them in the greenhouse before planting out in early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Arid environments, including coastal sands. Disturbed soils.

Known hazards of Solanum simile:

Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many if not all the members have poisonous leaves and sometimes also the unripe fruits.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.