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Solanum pyracanthum Jacq.

Porcupine tomato, devil’s thorn

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderSolanalesPotatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, petunias, sweet potatoes, morning glories, many others
FamilySolanaceaeNightshade or potato family
GenusSolanum“Quieting,” for the narcotic effect of some species

About plant names...

The porcupine tomato is a native of Madagascar. It reminds me a little of a killer dandelion.

Identification: Plants are 1½-2′ (45-60 cm) high. Porcupine tomatoes are not found in the wild in North America. They look really weird. The leaves resemble those of dandelions, except that they are blue-green, and stems and leaves are festooned with deadly-looking orange spikes. Purple star-shaped flowers with five points and yellow centers are about ¾″ (1.9 cm) across. Even the fruit has thorns. It is doubtful that this plant can be mistaken for any other.

Online References:


Rob’s Plants

Wikimedia Commons



Aaron Sipf Photo


Solanum pyracanthum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Solanum pyracanthum (porcupine tomato, devil’s thorn)

7/4/2009 · MacDonald-Zachos’, Milford, Penn­syl­vania · ≈ 2 × 1′ (59 × 39 cm)

Range: Zones 9-11:

About this map...