Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Giant Star Potato Tree
Solanum macranthum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: macranthum (ma-KRAN-thum) (Info)

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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By Floridian
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There are a total of 13 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Nyeri On Aug 10, 2014, Nyeri from kuching
Malaysia wrote:

Are the fruits poisonous? Can the plant be used as a rootstock for edible solanum?
Any one have some experience on this. thanks

Positive Daylily_Diva On Jul 9, 2010, Daylily_Diva from Santee, CA wrote:

This small tree took a long time to get going from a 5 gallon pot - I almost pulled it out - but now is gorgeous and a real magnet for all the birds who sit in it as it overhangs my waterfall and wait to take a dip. Very entertaining to watch. I'm east of San Diego (hot summers, cold winters) and wonder when this tree should be shaped as it's getting pretty floppy and needs cutting back.

Positive repha On Jan 21, 2009, repha from Port Saint Lucie, FL wrote:

Everyone who sees my tree asks what it is! It is a show stopper. It is shallow rooted and can topple in a hurricane, but easy to get uprighted. The only negative is the torns, both on leaves and trunk. That being said, I will not be without one.

Positive tennebrac On Sep 25, 2008, tennebrac from Tampa, FL wrote:

A wonderful tropical addition to a Florida garden. Likes full sun and grows quickly. Tends to branch from near the base-- leave "as is" for a full bushy shrub or trim to encourage growth into a tree. Blooms all year. I fertilize moderately once a season with 6-6-6. Likes frequent water, but does not need to be watered everyday in my experience, even in summer (I am aware of the note above which indicates that the soil should not be allowed to dry out but this has not been my experience--this plant tolerates dryness better than a lot of other plants I have in my yard). Pollinating insects (bees, wasps, butterflies) love this plant. The new blooms have a slight sweet smell which is apparent only if you are very near the plant.

The only negative is that this plant is not cold hardy at all. The 26 degree F night early January 2008 here in Tampa knocked it down to the base despite it being in a protected area near the house and having been covered with frost cloth and blankets. The tree has recovered and is now 15 feet tall in 9 months. The 20-30 foot tall Giant Star Potato Tree at USF Botanical Gardens was completely killed in this cold snap-- apparently the temps there got down to 23 degrees F.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Miami, Florida
Palm City, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida (2 reports)
Saint Petersburg, Florida (2 reports)
Tampa, Florida
Houston, Texas

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