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Solanum mammosum L.

Family Name: Solanaceae
Common Name: Nipple Fruit, Cow's Udder Plant, Lady Nipples, Five-finger Fruit, Macaw Bush, Titty Fruit, Apple of Sodom, Nipple Nightshade, 乳茄, 五代同堂, 五指茄, 真奇之果
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Herb & Spice Ornamental Flowers Annual Woody Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Herbaceous)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial, Semi-Annual / Annual-Like, Annual
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 0.6 m to 1.8 m


Native Distribution Mexico, Carribean, tropical South America
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Perennial herbaceous shrub, sometimes used as annual. Grows up to 1.8m tall and somewhat coarse-looking. Stems densely covered with fine glandular hairs, and may have thorns.Leaves broadly-lobed, velvety, armed with spiny recurved prickles on major veins on upper and lower surface. Flowers star-shaped, with furry purple petals and yellow centres, produced in clusters of 3 to 4. Fruits are pear-shaped berries with nipple-like protrusions and spongy white mesocarp, ripen from green to yellow to orange, contain numerous reddish-brown to dark brown flattened seeds covered with purplish mucilage.Usually grown for unusual ornamental fruits, which are toxic if ingested. Pefers well-drained soils rich in organic matter. Propagate by seeds or cuttings.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice)
[Others]: Branches of ripe fruits used in floral arrangements. Mucilaginous fruit sap may be used as natural detergent. Fruits also used as cockroach poison and repellent against leaf cutter ants. Fruits symbolize good luck and often used as festive decor during Lunar New Year. Also used as religious offering in Taiwan. Ripe fruits used medicinally in homeopathic remedies, and said to be effective against skin diseases like athlete's foot and to soothe nervousness and irritability.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Focal Plant, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Golden Garden, Economic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Stem/Branch, Spines/Thorns - Leaf, Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Leaves covered with spiny prickles on adaxial and abaxial veins. Stems may also be armed with recurved spines. Fruits are toxic if eaten.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose, Hairy / Hirsute, Spiny / Bristly / Stinging
Foliar Modification Spine (axillary), Prickle / Emergence (blade)
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Whorled
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Oval)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Dentate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Truncate / Square
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Purple, Yellow / Golden
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Orange
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Berry

Image Repository



Master ID 1165
Species ID 2458
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 April 2020.