Solanum torvum

Devil's fig

Also known as:

Turkey berry, Thai eggplant 

Family: Solanaceae

Origin: North and South America

Close up of devil's fig leaves and berries.
The fruits are berries that grow in clusters that look like green peas. They become yellow when fully ripe.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
  • Whole region — Eradication

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Multi-branching, perennial shrub < 4 m tall. Stems are densely hairy, grey, and bear scattered prickles. Leaves are simple, < 10 x 15 cm and lobed, with grey/green tops and white/yellow/green undersides. Flowers are star-shaped, white with yellow stamens, and arranged in branched clusters. Fruit is round, yellow/green, and contains flattened white/pale brown seeds.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • you must not breed, distribute, release or sell devil’s fig within the Auckland region
  • you must not plant devil’s fig within the Auckland region.


Disturbed areas, roadsides, wasteland, scrubland, plantations, pasture.


Seed dispersed by birds. Human-mediated dispersal through movement of contaminated soil and equipment.

Impact on environment

Can create impassable thickets. Provides habitat and food resources for introduced mammals. Suppresses forage in pasture.


Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Manual removal for small infestations can be effective if done before they produce seeds. Removing as much as the root system as possible and replanting the area with desirable plants species will help reduce the changes of regrowth. Monitoring the area and removing any seedling before they set seed will work towards permanent control.
Plant parts requiring disposal: Seed heads if practical and roots.
Disposal options: Greenwaste bins or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with double strength glyphosate gel.
Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 250ml glyphosate.
Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Stump treat with 60ml triclopyr 600/1L or picloram gel Or Foliar spray with 60ml triclopyr 600 + 10ml organic silicone/10L (backpack).

* Apply chemicals as per instructions on the herbicide container.
* PPE gear should be always worn when missing and applying chemicals.

Close up of devil's fig five petaled flower.
The flowers are white with 5 pointed petals.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
The underside of devil's fig leaves.
The spines are short and slightly curved.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Close up of devil's fig leaf.
The leaves have grey/green tops with white/yellow/green undersides.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Devil's fig growing in tall bushes next to a shed.
It can form dense stands.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr