Tropical soda apple


Have you seen Tropical soda apple?

Be on the lookout for Tropical soda apple and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in preventing Tropical soda apple from becoming a major problem in Queensland.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to South America, tropical soda apple is a prickly perennial shrub with yellow fruit. It can be invasive and also host various plant viruses.

Tropical soda apple is a major pest in Florida, where it has invaded at least 500,000ha of land and costs landholders millions of dollars each year in control costs and lost production. Queensland has only a small number of isolated tropical soda apple infestations, but the species has the potential to become a problem in coastal and subcoastal Queensland.

You must take reasonable action to minimise the risk of spreading Tropical soda apple to ensure the situation isn't worsened.

You must report all sightings to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

Scientific name

Solanum viarum

Similar species

  • Devil's apple (Solanum capsicoides)
  • Devil's fig (S. torvum)
  • Giant devil's fig (S. chrysotrichum)
  • Apple of Soddom (S. linnaeanum)


  • Upright, multi-branched perennial shrub 0.5–2m tall.
  • Stems have thorn-like prickles up to 12mm long.
  • Leaves are 10–20cm long, 6–15cm wide, covered with short hairs and white prickles.
  • Flowers are white with 5 recurved petals and white to cream-coloured stamens.
  • Immature fruits are smooth, round, mottled light and dark green like a watermelon.
  • Mature fruits are yellow, 1–3cm in diameter, with leathery skin surrounding pale green, scented pulp, each containing 180 to 240 seeds.
  • Seeds are pale brown, tear-shaped, 3mm across.


  • Prefers open, disturbed sites, especially pastures and areas around cattle yards.
  • Prefers coastal, high-rainfall habitats in tropical and subtropical areas.


  • First detected in Queensland in November 2010 near Coominya in South East Queensland.
  • Currently small number of isolated infestations in Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Reproduces from seeds.
  • Flowers autumn–winter.
  • Fruit sets in winter.

Affected animals

  • Livestock



  • Invades and replace pasture, including improved pasture.
  • Leaves are unpalatable to livestock (although fruit are readily eaten).
  • Provides an alternative host for at least 6 viruses that affect various vegetables.

How it is spread

  • Seeds spread primarily by cattle but also by birds, feral pigs, deer, contaminated hay, and water.


Before undertaking any preventative or control actions, contact our Customer Service Centre.

Physical control

  • Hand-pull or chip out isolated plants and small infestations, making sure to remove all roots and stem fragments.

Herbicide control

Legal requirements

  • Tropical soda apple is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • You must not keep, move, give away, sell or release into the environment. Penalties may apply.
  • You must not take any action reasonably likely to exacerbate the biosecurity threat posed by tropical soda apple.
  • You must take any action that is reasonably likely to minimise the biosecurity threat posed by tropical soda apply.
  • You must report all sightings to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

Further information