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The endemic Solanum thomsonii differs from the closely related Solanum aculeastrum by its numerous small orange fruits.


As soon as we drive out of Mbeya town and turned around a corner, the rare endemic Solanum thomsonii was everywhere, growing all down the road. It often grows mixed together with the closely related Solanum aculeastrum, and there seem to be some plants intermediate between the two species. We spent most of the day observing these and making collections. It is difficult to concentrate because as soon as we start work more and more children come running from all directions! They are friendly and want to talk to us, but after many hours I get tired – do not think I would make a very good school teacher!



Eric preparing specimens of Solanum thomsonii. We usually arrive at a hotel late at night and press the plants we collected after dinner; it is usually dark and we have to work by torchlight.