Alien Invasives

Bugweed (Solanum mauritianum)


03 October 2016

Bugweed (Solanum mauritianum)

Bugweed is a shrub or small tree up to 4 metres. The large, dull green leaves are covered in velvety hairs emit a strong smell when crushed.
Purple flowers appear all year round and are carried in compact, terminal clusters on densely felty stalks.
The round fruit which start off green (and are highly poisonous at this stage) ripen to yellow.
The hairy leaves and stems are a respiratory tract and skin irritant.

Other names
Bugtree (English)
Flannel Weed (English)
Woolly Nightshade (English)
Luisboom (Afrikaans)
Groot bitterappel (Afrikaans)
uBhoqo (isiZulu)
umbanga banga (isiZulu)
Invasive status
NEMBA Category 1b
CARA 2002 Category 1

Originally from
South America
Where is it a problem?
Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo provinces
How does it spread?
Seed dispersal carried on waterways or by birds
Why is it a problem?
Bugweed competes vigorously indigenous riverine and forest margin species. It is also a host of the KwaZulu-Natal fruit fly which is an economic pest. It has no value as a fodder plant, the unripe fruits are poisonous and the hairy leaves and stems can cause allergic dermatitis and asthma.
Planting alternatives
False Olive (Buddleja saligna), Sagewood (Buddleja salviifolia) or Weeping Sage (Buddleja auriculata)

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