Earlier in the week I visited the nearby wetlands, wildlife area in Pauatahanui. I took my trusty “point and shoot” camera with the intention of taking some photos for possible entries in next year’s Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet photo competition. (Do have a look at the winning photos in this year’s competition, there are some utterly stunning shots. I particularly love the ones of the herons)
As we ambled along a track I spied a native Poroporo bush (Solanum laciniatum) and on it a single orange berry set amongst the deep green foliage.
I know this plant and its gorgeous deep purple flowers and the fact that Maori used it traditionally as a contraceptive. I also know that the berries when green are poisonous and that the leaves are to be treated with caution too.
A little bit of searching around on the internet gave me further information. A member of the tomato family (Solanaceae) it is toxic to sheep and cattle so is no friend to farmers and their stock. It prefers to grow in the native bush or in rough, disturbed land.
I also learnt that the early European settlers made jam from the ripe berries.
This website provided further interesting information about the plant being studied to see whether it has medicinal properties which could be used in the treatment of arthritis and skin diseases.
The ordinary things in our environment can so often be valuable to us when we take the time to learn about them.