(Figure 87). Probably native to the islands of the West Indies and coastal northern South America in Colombia and Venezuela, perhaps also on the Caribbean slope of Central America and Mexico; widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics (often escaped and apparently naturalised).
Solanum seaforthianum or Brazilian Nightshade is a flowering evergreen vine of the Solanum family native to tropical South America. As a member of the Solanum genus, it is related to such plants as the tomato and potato. It is characterized by clusters of four to seven leaves and can climb to a height of 20 ft (6 m) given enough room. It blooms in the mid to late summer with clusters of star-shaped purple inflorescence followed by scarlet marble-sized berries. The plant is highly heat resistant, but cannot tolerate frost conditions. The plant contains modest amounts of various tropane alkaloids such as atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine and should be considered mildly toxic and inedible.
A shrubby climber with pinnate leaves; pinnate 5-9 in number; lobes elliptic-ovate, acute, base oblique. Flowers in terminal dropping panicles, blue to light purple. Calyx obscurely 5-toothed. Corolla limb 1.5-2.0 cm broad, lobes acute. Berry globose, c. 10 mm broad.
Vines slender, woody, 1-5 m, glabrescent; pubescence of simple hairs. Leaves simple or pinnately compound; petiole 2-5 cm; leaf blade 4-10 × 4-7 cm, puberulent along veins, base acute, obtuse, truncate, or cordate, usually pinnately (5-)7(-9)-parted; lobes ovate to oblong or lanceolate, unequal, 1.5-5 × 0.5-2.5 cm, acute or acuminate. Inflorescences leaf opposed or appearing terminal, showy, many-flowered open panicles; peduncle to 4 cm, branched. Pedicel 5-10 mm, abscissing nearly at base. Calyx cup-shaped, 1-1.5 × 2-3 mm, truncate or with minute, short deltate lobes, glabrous. Corolla usually purple, rarely white, 0.9-1.3 cm; lobes ovate-oblong, 5-8 × 2.5-4.5 mm, glabrous. Filaments 2-3 mm; anthers free, 3-4 mm. Style ca. 1 cm. Fruit (not seen in Chinese plants) red, juicy, globose, 1-2 cm. Seeds discoid, 2-3.5 mm in diam.