Herb: Green Kangaroo Apple


Latin name: Solanum vescum


Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)



Medicinal use of Green Kangaroo Apple:

A source of solasonine, used in the manufacture of steroidal drugs and contraceptives. It is probably obtained from the unripe fruit.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Open forests near the coast. Stream banks and dunes, also in heaths and jungles.

Edible parts of Green Kangaroo Apple:

Fruit - raw or cooked. It must be fully ripe, see the notes above on toxicity. The fruit tastes much worse than it looks, it is sickly sweet and often bitter. The quality varies from plant to plant and even from year to year from the same plant. The fruit is up to 2cm long and contains a large number of flat seeds.

Other uses of the herb:

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

Propagation of Green Kangaroo Apple:

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:

Open forests near the coast. Stream banks and dunes, also in heaths and jungles.

Known hazards of Solanum vescum:

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.