Native Plant of the Month: Solanum Aviculare

Solanum aviculare, or Kangaroo Apple, is a mostly soft-wooded and small to medium-sized shrub, potentially reaching four metres tall by three metres wide – single or multi-stemmed.

Family: Solanaceae

This native plant is found happily growing in margins of subtropical rainforest and as a regrowth plant in cleared scrubby areas. The four-metre height makes it a very useful garden plant. It is the size most customers ask for at the nursery for home gardens.

Both colourful flowers and berries are visited by insects and birds. Native bees visit the flowers and aid fertilisation by buzz pollination. The bees sit on top of the anthers and vibrate their wings. This causes pollen to lift out of the upright anthers and adhere to the bees’ bodies. The pollen is carried to other flowers and cross pollination takes place.

There will always be some Kangaroo Apple seedlings appearing in the gardens, to replace the mature ones. They help shelter more delicate plants until they are established.

A useful plant for a shady garden where other plants may be hard to grow. It is very hardy and does not need watering once established. It will also grow in full sun. It is generally not fussy of soil type. It may be susceptible to some pests such as caterpillars as the stems are generally soft-wooded, which attract birds.

This native plant has a large natural distribution, growing mostly along the coast and tablelands of NSW, as well as the western slopes (around Dubbo). It extends into Queensland, along the coast, tablelands and inland, to as far north as north-west of Port Douglas.

Get weed-wise for a free Kangaroo Apple plant

If you have the Large Leaved Privet and/or the Small Leaved Privet in your garden, the kangaroo Apple is a great replacement as the food source for the numerous birds that would be visiting your garden would not be diminished. 

Bring photo evidence of the removal of the Privet in your garden to the Landcare Nursery and reference this article to receive a free Kangaroo Apple plant.

Broad-leaf Privet leaves. Photographer: Ann Loughran. Source: NSW WeedWise
Landcare Nursery

The nursery has a wide supply of native plants available. Learn more about the nursery at

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