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Invasion of Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum) into the U.S.: Lessons Learned

  • J. Jeffrey Mullahey (a1), Donn G. Shilling (a2), P. Mislevy (a3) and R. A. Akanda (a4)


Tropical soda apple (SOLVI) is an introduced, perennial broadleaf plant that has invaded Florida agricultural land and natural ecosystems and has spread to other states (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania). Tropical soda apple was first collected in Florida in 1988. In 1990, SOLVI-infested land was approximately 10,000 ha, in 1993, 162,000 ha, and in 1995, approximately 0.5 million ha were reported infested in Florida. Rapid spread of this invasive plant has occurred from seeds transported in cattle, hay, sod, grass seeds, water, and wildlife (deer, feral hogs, birds). Animals will not eat the foliage but will consume the fruits and spread the seeds in their feces. This exotic weed is an indeterminate plant with seed production averaging 50,000/plant/yr, seed germination of 70–90%, and seed longevity in soil of up to 1 yr. Integrated weed management strategies include prevention (avoidance of contaminated hay or grass seed, control of movement of cattle), control (mechanical, chemical), and monitoring. Seed production must be prevented and landowners should adopt a zero tolerance toward SOLVI. During the time (1990–1995) research (biology, ecology, control) was being conducted to control SOLVI from Florida, this weed had infested the entire state and escaped into other states. Risk assessment criteria for new plant introductions must be developed and implemented to prevent future biological pollution.



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Invasion of Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum) into the U.S.: Lessons Learned

  • J. Jeffrey Mullahey (a1), Donn G. Shilling (a2), P. Mislevy (a3) and R. A. Akanda (a4)


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