Common name: Kangaroo apple
Solanum laciniatum is found in the Southern Hemisphere Garden and belongs to the deadly nightshade family (Solanaceae). No dramatic surprises in the looking, but big drama in the wondering which parts of this plant are edible and which parts could do you in. You can see the tiny tomato-like fruit on the plant. These you can eat but only when they have ripened to a dark orange colour. Every other part of the plant is poisonous.
This perennial shrub is native to Australia and Tasmania but often survives a mild winter in Vancouver. It is a fast grower and not fussy about soil conditions except salt spray. In Australia, kangaroo apple has been used in soils with a high concentration of heavy metals when reclaiming mine wastes.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones.