Solanum aviculare_Ron Vanderhoff
Photo by Ron Vanderhoff

Solanum aviculare Risk Assessment

Common names: New Zealand nightshade

Solanum aviculare -- California

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Evaluation Summary
Summary: 
General Evaluation Information
Date of Evaluation: 
April 14, 2016
Evaluation Time (hrs): 
2 Hours
Evaluation Status: 
Completed
Plant Information
Plant Material: 
If the plant is a cultivar, and if the cultivar's behavior differs from its parent's (behavior), explain how: 
Regional Information
Region Name: 
Climate Matching Map
These maps were built using a toolkit created in collaboration between GreenInfo Network, PlantRight, Cal-IPC, and Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis.
Climate Matching Maps PDF: 
Invasive History and Climate Matching
1. Has the species (or cultivar or variety, if applicable; applies to subsequent "species" questions) become naturalized where it is not native?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
Very High
Answer / Justification: 
Naturalized in California (Jepson). Naturalised beyond is native range in some parts of southern Australia (i.e. in parts of south-eastern and southern South Australia and in the coastal districts of south-western Western Australia). Also naturalised overseas in Hawaii and western USA (i.e. California and Oregon) (Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition). Naturalised in parts of China and Russia (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network).
Reference(s): 
2. Is the species (or cultivar or variety) noted as being naturalized in the US or world in a similar climate?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
2
Confidence Level: 
Very High
Answer / Justification: 
Naturalized in California (Jepson). Naturalised beyond is native range in some parts of southern Australia (i.e. in parts of south-eastern and southern South Australia and in the coastal districts of south-western Western Australia). Also naturalised overseas in Hawaii and western USA (i.e. California and Oregon) (Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition). High degree of climate overlap with California (Cal-IPC global map of climate areas matching California).
Reference(s): 
3. Is the species (or cultivar or variety) noted as being invasive in the U.S. or world?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
2
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Kangaroo apple (Solanum aviculare) is regarded as an environmental weed in South Australia and Western Australia (Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition).
Reference(s): 
4. Is the species (or cultivar or variety) noted as being invasive in the US or world in a similar climate?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
3
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Kangaroo apple (Solanum aviculare) is regarded as an environmental weed in South Australia and Western Australia (Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition). High degree of climate overlap with California (Cal-IPC global map of climate areas matching California).
Reference(s): 
5. Are other species of the same genus (or closely related genera) invasive in a similar climate?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Solanum elaeagnifolium and Solanum lanceolatum are listed as invasive in California (Wikipedia). Solanum marginatum listed as having limited impact but already in CA (listed by CDFA) (Invasive Species List and Scorecards for California). S. viarum major pest in FL and on watchlists in Queensland (Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition). High degree of climate overlap with California (Cal-IPC global map of climate areas matching California).
Reference(s): 
6. Is the species (or cultivar or variety) found predominately in a climate matching the region of concern?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
2
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Native to south-eastern Asia (i.e. Irian Jaya in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), eastern Australia (i.e. eastern Queensland, eastern New South Wales and Victoria), Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and New Zealand (Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition). Grows best in Zones 9a-11 (Dave's Garden). High degree of climate overlap with California (Cal-IPC global map of climate areas matching California).
Reference(s): 
Impact on Native Plants and Animals
7. Does this plant displace native plants and dominate (overtop or smother) the plant community in areas where it has established?
Yes or No: 
No
Points: 
0
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any evidence of smothering or displacement of native plants, and this defaults to a “no” answer at this time.
Reference(s): 
8. Is the plant noted as promoting fire and/or changing fire regimes?
Yes or No: 
No
Points: 
0
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
Often appears following fires (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network). An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any additional evidence about fire promotion or changes to fire regimes, and this defaults to a “no” answer at this time.
Reference(s): 
9. Is the plant a health risk to humans or animals/fish? Has the species been noted as impacting grazing systems?
Yes or No: 
No
Points: 
0
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
All green parts of the plant are poisonous and so is the unripe fruit, but edible when fully ripe (PFAF). All plants in this genus are toxic to some degree. Although the ripe orange fruits are sometimes eaten, the green berry fruits are poisonous, as are the leaves. The berries are attractive to children (Australian National Botanic Gardens). The yellow or green berries are poisonous but when ripe (orange) they lose much of their toxicity. The symptoms are often delayed up to 6-12 hours and may include a fever, sweating, nausea and abdominal pain (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network). An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any evidence of common poisoning or mortality or impacts on grazing systems, and this defaults to a “no” answer at this time.
Reference(s): 
Australian National Botanic Gardens, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, Canberra, Australian National Herbarium (2012).  Australian National Botanic Gardens.
10. Does the plant produce impenetrable thickets, blocking or slowing movement of animals, livestock, or humans?
Yes or No: 
No
Points: 
0
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any evidence of formation of thickets, and this defaults to a “no” answer at this time.
Reference(s): 
Reproductive Strategies
11. Does this species (or cultivar or variety) reproduce and spread vegetatively?
Yes or No: 
No
Points: 
0
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
Propagate by seed (Trade Winds Fruits). Propagation may be from seeds, which require no pre-treatment, or from cuttings taken from spring to autumn (Australian National Herbarium - CANBR). An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any evidence of vegetative reproduction, and this defaults to a “no” answer at this time.
Reference(s): 
12. If naturally detached fragments from this plant are capable of producing new plants, is this a common method of reproduction for the plant?
Yes or No: 
No
Points: 
0
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any evidence of production of plants by fragments, and this is a terrestrial shrub that is unlikely to fragment, and this defaults to a “no” answer at this time.
Reference(s): 
13. Does the species (or cultivar or variety) commonly produce viable seed?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Propagate by seed (Trade Winds Fruits). Propagation may be from seeds, which require no pre-treatment, or from cuttings taken from spring to autumn (Australian National Herbarium - CANBR).
Reference(s): 
14. Does this plant produce copious viable seeds each year (> 1000)?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
Low
Answer / Justification: 
The fruit is up to 2cm long and contains a large number of flat seeds (PFAF). An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any additional evidence about seed production, and this remains unanswered at this time. Per Reviewer Eric Wrubel: "Personal observation of large plants with > 50 fruits. Assuming 20 seeds/fruit, this would be > 1000 seeds per plant. The evaluation establishes that seeds have high viability. Therefore I propose a YES answer, with med-low confidence, since this is a personal observation."
Reference(s): 
15. Is there significant germination (>25%) of seeds the next growing season, with no requirement of an infrequent environmental condition for seeds to germinate (i.e. fire) or long dormancy period?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
It is possible to grow the plant as an annual. If the seed is sown in early spring in a warm greenhouse and planted out after the last frosts it can fruit in its first year though yields will be lower than from plants grown as perennials. Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. Germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c (PFAF). No pretreatment of seeds required (Australian National Herbarium - CANBR) so it is possible that substantial germination occurs. 30% of seed germination when soaked in water after 0 weeks of storage (Germination studies of the seed of Solanum laciniatum Ait. and S. aviculare Forst). This seems sufficient evidence to answer "yes" to this question.
Reference(s): 
16. Does this plant produce viable seed within the first three years (for an herbaceous species) to five years (for a woody species) after germination?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
It is possible to grow the plant as an annual. If the seed is sown in early spring in a warm greenhouse and planted out after the last frosts it can fruit in its first year though yields will be lower than from plants grown as perennials (PFAF).
Reference(s): 
17. Does this plant continuously produce seed for >3 months each year or does seed production occur more than once a year?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Blooms January - July (CalFlora) or June - October (Jepson), depending on the source referenced. Per Dave's Garden blooms late spring to early summer.
Reference(s): 
Dispersal
18. Are the plant’s propagules frequently dispersed long distance (>100 m) by mammals or birds or via domestic animals?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Fruit a berry (Jepson). Likely dispersal by birds, and this is a "yes".
Reference(s): 
19. Are the plant’s propagules frequently dispersed long distance (>100 m) by wind or water?
Yes or No: 
No
Points: 
0
Confidence Level: 
Medium
Answer / Justification: 
An exhaustive Google/Google Scholar search did not reveal any evidence of dispersal via these mechanisms and as this is a terrestrial plant with no morphological adaptations for wind dispersal, this defaults to a “no” answer at this time.
Reference(s): 
20. Are the plant’s propagules frequently dispersed via contaminated seed (agriculture or wildflower packets), equipment, vehicles, boats or clothing/shoes?
Yes or No: 
Yes
Points: 
1
Confidence Level: 
High
Answer / Justification: 
Distributed via horticulture (Biological Invasions in New Zealand).
Reference(s): 
Evaluation Notes
Total PRE Score

  • < 13 : accept (low risk of invasiveness)
  • 13 - 15 : evaluate further
  • > 15 : reject (high risk of invasiveness)

PRE Score: 
18
Number of questions answered: 
20
Screener Confidence (%): 
72.0
PRE Content Access and Privacy
Evaluation visibility: 
Public - accessible to all site users

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