Tropical Soda Apple
Tropical Soda Apple – Solanum viarum Dunal
Category 1 Invasive plant
Family – Solanaceae (Nightshade)
Description – Perennial, native to South America. Height to 6 feet, more common at 3 ft. or less. First discovered in Florida in 1988, has since spread to over 500,000 acres statewide. Identified by numerous straight thorns on stems and leaves and their distinctive fruit.
Fruit is a poisonous globose berry, 0.8-1.2 inch wide, green with darker veins like a miniature watermelon, turning a dull yellow at maturity. Each fruit contains hundreds of small flattish seeds and a single plant is capable of producing tens of thousands of seeds in a single season. Cattle, raccoons, deer, and birds feed on the fruit and then disperse seeds.