Click on images to enlarge
upper leaves and flower buds with enlarged sepals (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
stem and lower leaf (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of flower (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
mature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of immature fruit with sepals spread open (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of seeds (Photo: Steve Hurst at USDA PLANTS Database)
habit (Photo: Chris Gardiner)
Nicandra physalodes (L.) Gaertn.
Atropa physalodes L.
Apple of Peru, apple-of-Peru, Chinese lantern, Peru apple, shoo fly, shoofly, shoo-fly plant, shoofly plant, shoofly-plant, shooflyplant, wild gooseberry, wild hops
Native to western South America (Peru).
Locations within which Nicandra physalodes is naturalised include Australia, USA, China, Japan, south-eastern Asia, New Zealand and on several Pacific.
Nicandra physalodes is present in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It is invasive in parts of Kenya (A.B.R. Witt pers. obs.) and Tanzania (Henderson 2002).
Colonises bare, degraded and cultivated areas
Nicandra physalodes is an annual shrub growing to 1 metre tall. It has spreading branches (the plant spreads to 1 m wide) and egg-shaped with broad end at base (ovate), mid-green, toothed and waved leaves. The upward-facing flowers are most commonly pale blue and white, but there are also forms with violet flowers and with white flowers. They are bell-shaped and 5 cm or more across. Cherry-like, green-brown berries are encased within green or black-mottled calyces. The mature fruits can resembles a lantern.
Nicandra physalodes was originally introduced as a garden plant (ornamental). It is also known to have medicinal and insecticidal properties. The latter attribute is the reason for it being sometimes known as shoo-fly.
The precise management measures adopted for any plant invasion will depend upon factors such as the terrain, the cost and availability of labour, the severity of the infestation and the presence of other invasive species. Some components of an integrated management approach are introduced below.
The best form of invasive species management is prevention. If prevention is no longer possible, it is best to treat the weed infestations when they are small to prevent them from establishing (early detection and rapid response). Controlling the weed before it seeds will reduce future problems. Control is generally best applied to the least infested areas before dense infestations are tackled. Consistent follow-up work is required for sustainable management.
Light tillage, hoeing or cutting can effectively control small plants. Many herbicides are available for use on this plant. When using any herbicide always read the label first and follow all instructions and safety requirements. If in doubt consult an expert.
Not listed as a noxious weed by the state or governments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Henderson, L. (2002). Problem plants in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Final Report to the NCAA.
Agnes Lusweti, National Museums of Kenya; Emily Wabuyele, National Museums of Kenya, Paul Ssegawa, Makerere University; John Mauremootoo, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Secretariat - UK.
This fact sheet is adapted from The Environmental Weeds of Australia by Sheldon Navie and Steve Adkins, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland. We recognise the support from the National Museums of Kenya, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) - Tanzania and Makerere University, Uganda. This activity was undertaken as part of the BioNET-EAFRINET UVIMA Project (Taxonomy for Development in East Africa).
BioNET-EAFRINET Regional Coordinator: email@example.com