Solanum pseudocapsicum (Scientific name)

General Poisoning Notes:

Jerusalem-cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) is an indoor ornamental grown for its colorful berries. This plant contains an alkaloid, solanocapsine, that is related to solanine. Experiments have shown that the chemical can cause death, although it is unlikely because oral absorption of the toxin is minimal. Experiments with cats and rats have shown that oral ingesting leaves and berries has not caused severe symptoms. By extrapolation, children or family pets that ingest moderate amounts of leaf or berry material may experience mild gastroenteritis and vomiting (Der Marderosian et al. 1976, Spoerke and Smolinske 1990).

References:

  • Der Marderosian, A. H., Giller, F. B., Roia, F. C. 1976. Phytochemical and toxicological screening of household ornamental plants potentially toxic to humans. 1. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, 1: 939-953.
  • Spoerke, D. G., Smolinske, S. C. 1990. Toxicity of houseplants. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 335 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Solanum pseudocapsicum L.
Vernacular name(s):
Jerusalem-cherry
Scientific family name:
Solanaceae
Vernacular family name:
nightshade

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Solanum pseudocapsicum

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada, Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/ Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

Plant or plant parts used in or around the home.

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or Illustration

Images: Solanum pseudocapsicum - Google search

Notes on Poisonous Plant Parts:

In experiments, extracts of the unripe and ripe berries have caused deaths in rats; the doses were very high and were given intraperitoneally. However, rats that ingested leaves did not die. Humans who ingest berries probably experience only mild gastrointestinal effects (Spoerke and Smolinske 1990).

Toxic Parts:

  • immature fruit
  • leaves
  • mature fruit

References:

  • Der Marderosian, A. H., Giller, F. B., Roia, F. C. 1976. Phytochemical and toxicological screening of household ornamental plants potentially toxic to humans. 1. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, 1: 939-953.
  • Spoerke, D. G., Smolinske, S. C. 1990. Toxicity of houseplants. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 335 pp.

Notes on Toxic Plant Chemicals:

Solanocapsine is an alkaloid that is structurally similar to solanine. It has a similar steroidal skeleton with an additional nitrogen group, but it is not a glycoside. Slowing of frog hearts has been shown with concentrations as low as 1:8 million. Oral absorption is minimal in animals. Rats experimentally injected with extracts from berries of Jerusalem-cherry (intraperitoneally, 3 g/100 g of body weight) resulted in the following fatalities:

  • ripe fruit : 3 out of 5 rats killed
  • unripe fruit : 4 out of 5 rats killed

These results indicate that death is possible, although the dosages given were very high (Der Marderosian et al. 1976, Spoerke and Smolinske 1990).

Toxic Plant Chemicals:

  • solanocapsine

References:

  • Der Marderosian, A. H., Giller, F. B., Roia, F. C. 1976. Phytochemical and toxicological screening of household ornamental plants potentially toxic to humans. 1. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, 1: 939-953.
  • Spoerke, D. G., Smolinske, S. C. 1990. Toxicity of houseplants. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 335 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Cats

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning:

Oral administration of pure solanocapsine has produced only slow heart rate and vomiting. Injection resulted in seizures and death. Oral ingestion of berries or leaves would likely produce only mild gastroenteritis and vomiting (Spoerke and Smolinske 1990).

References:

  • Der Marderosian, A. H., Giller, F. B., Roia, F. C. 1976. Phytochemical and toxicological screening of household ornamental plants potentially toxic to humans. 1. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, 1: 939-953.
  • Spoerke, D. G., Smolinske, S. C. 1990. Toxicity of houseplants. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 335 pp.

Humans

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning:

Experiments on animals suggest that children who ingest leaf or berry material might suffer only mild gastroenteritis or vomiting. Nevertheless, children should be taught to avoid eating these plants (Spoerke and Smolinske 1990).

References:

  • Spoerke, D. G., Smolinske, S. C. 1990. Toxicity of houseplants. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 335 pp.

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