The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Bitter Apple

Afrikaans name: Bitterappel

Bitter Apple

Above - Beautiful mauve flowers on the Bitter Apple

Photo © Steven Herbert

Solanum duplo-sinuatum

The Bitter Apple is a sprawling shrub with attractive purple flowers that have yellow centres. The flowers are around 4.5 cm across and appear throughout the year. These plants typically grow along the edge of forested areas or sometimes on the forest floor.

The Bitter Apple can reach a height of around 1.2 metres and are sometimes taller. While the flowers are attractive the leaves look menacing! They are deeply serrated and can be up to 30 cm in length and have spines sticking out from the veins.

The fruit of the Bitter Apple is about 3.5 cm in diameter, and it is green and yellow in colour. In some parts of Africa, the plants are actually cultivated for their fruit. The flowers and leaves are apparently also edible, but I wouldn’t suggest that you munch on one of those thorny leaves!

Traditional healers use parts of the Bitter Apple to treat ring worm.

Bitter Apple

Above - Large thorny leaf of the Bitter Apple

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 478

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