Tropical Soda Apple
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Tropical Soda Apple
aturalized Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Tropical Soda Apple • Mizo: Athlo
Botanical name: Solanum viarum    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Solanum viridiflorum, Solanum khasianum var. chatterjeeanum

Tropical Soda Apple, is a perennial shrub native to Brazil and Argentina with a prickly stem and prickly leaves. The fruit is golf ball sized with the coloring of a watermelon. It has become naturalized in many parts of the world, including India. The plant is 3-6 ft tall. Stems and branches terete, densely and evenly pubescent with many-celled, simple hairs to 1 mm, armed with recurved prickles 2-5 X 1-5 mm and sometimes with needlelike prickles 1-4 mm. Leaves unequal paired; petiole stout 3-7 cm, armed with erect, flat straight prickles 0.3-1.8 cm; leaf blade broadly ovate, 6-13 X 6-12 cm, with prickles and coarse, many-celled, glandular simple hairs on both surfaces. White flowers are borne in 1-5-flowered racemes; peduncle obsolete or short. Flowers are like brinjal family flowers, only basal ones are fertile. Flower-stalks are 4-6 mm. Sepal tube is bell-shaped, about 10 X 7 mm, sepals oblong-lanceolate, 0.6-1.2 mm, hairy and sometimes prickly abaxially. Flowers white or green; petals lanceolate, about 2.5 X 10 mm, velvety as on calyx.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale, Yazdy Palia
Photographed in Anshi WLS, Karnataka.
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