Wild Tobacco Tree


Solanum mauritianum

Origin: Argentina
Size: 3m - 4m H
Best removal time: Before seeds form
Flowers: Autumn to Spring
Fruits: Especially from Spring to Autumn

What it does

This small tree is highly invasive, forming dense stands in forest areas competing with other trees and shrubs. It is found primarily along creeks and rivers, although it can spread right through most forest types. All parts of the plant are toxic and should not be ingested (take particular care with small children).

What it looks like

The plant grows very quickly into an open branched large shrub or small tree. The leaves are highly distinctive - long (to 30cm), light grey-green with obviously furry surface on the top and underside. The smaller branches are also furry. Flowers and fruit grow throughout the year. Open purple flowers are in large flat-topped clusters, fruit are clustered like grapes, green at first then turning dark yellow when ripe.

How it spreads

  • fruits are eaten and spread long distances by birds and animals
  • water can wash seeds to new sites
  • seeds germinate readily after fire


Remove by Hand

Seedlings to 1.5m can be pulled out (easiest when soil is moist) whilst larger plants can be dug out. This plant is toxic so wear gloves and wash hands after removal. The Wild Tobacco Tree can cause irritation of throat and eyes so wear a face mask and goggles.

Cut and Paint

Larger plants (that are too large to pull out) can be sawn off near ground level and the stump painted with an undiluted glyphosate-based product to prevent regrowth. Wear a face mask and goggles as the plant can cause irritation of throat and eyes.

Indigenous alternatives to plant

Many tree and large shrub alternatives exist that are indigenous to the Yarra Ranges region and would make great substitutes for the Wild Tobacco Tree. Some alternatives include:

How to dispose of weeds

By disposing of environmental weeds correctly you can prevent re-infestation on your property and elsewhere.

  • Landfill (Weed Wipeout Tip vouchers available for some species).
  • Green waste bins ensure that weeds are not able to spread.
  • Woody weed stems can be bundled for green collection twice per annum.
  • Composting (excluding seed heads or species with vegetative reproduction, e.g. Wandering Trad).
  • Burning in accordance with Council and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) prescribed burning periods and regulations.
  • Recovery and transfer stations available for weed tipping are Healesville, Wesburn, Coldstream, Lysterfield and Montrose.

Using chemicals

Non-chemical treatment is often the most effective and safe option especially on smaller scale infestations.

Where chemical use is undertaken:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using chemicals.
  • Wear protective clothing and eyewear.
  • When purchasing your herbicide, always ask for a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or refer to the manufacturer’s website for specific safety guidelines and information.
  • Some herbicides will kill other plants and not just the target species.
  • When used near waterways herbicides can be very poisonous to aquatic life.
  • Use chemicals sparingly and be sure that you are using the right chemical and application technique.
  • Ensure the weather conditions are suitable (e.g. minimal wind and no rain expected).
  • Apply herbicides at the correct time during the plant’s growth cycle so you get the best results.