The thorn apple also known as devils apple, apple of Sodom or Gifapple, is native to South Africa and was introduced to many countries including Australia. It occurs in most areas from the Cape to Zimbabwe. It grows to be about 1m tall. The scientific name is Solanum linnaeanum (previously S.hermannii).
It is a fascinating medicinal plant, and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Fruits can be poisonous to sheep and children; green fruits are more toxic than ripe ones. Our APU and field rangers have used this plant out in the field to treat wounds and to treat people suffering from pain. The pulp from the green fruits of many Solanum species are applied directly to the tooth and gum for the treatment of tooth ache. Solanum supinum for example is also known as tyndpynbos (tooth ache bush). Solanum species contain toxic steroidal alkaloids (solanine and solasodine) these are used as base materials in the manufacture of steroidal drugs.