Is that a baby tomato plant on Table Mountain
Interesting plants to see on a Table
At the moment whilst walking on Table Mountain you might be forgiven for thinking you see a baby tomato plant. Perhaps someone threw away a sandwich? Once you’ve seen a couple of these plants though you begin to doubt the likelihood of so many sandwiches being discarded. A closer look will also reveal that the leaves are quite spikey and not those of your average tomato.
Solanum linnaeanum masquerading as a tomato on Table Mountain
The plant in question is the Solanum linnaeanum. The Solanum genus is large and diverse including the nightshades and horse nettles. Whilst many of the genus are poisonous others such as the pototo (Solanum tuberosum) and tomato (Solanum lycospersicum) are regularly eaten by humans.
The Solanum linnaeanum is commonly known as the “Devils apple” or “Apple of Sodom” and should be treated with care as the small green berries that so resemble unripe baby tomatos are poisonous. The plant is native to South Africa and the Meditteranean basin but has been introduced widely around the world and is considered a weed in many countries such as Australia.
A Solanum linnaeanum on Table Mountain