The current situation of Solanum elaeagnifolium in the Mediterranean Basin
Solanum elaeagnifolium (Solanaceae: EPPO A2 List) is native to Southern USA and Northern Mexico and is a highly invasive alien species in the Mediterranean region. Over the last 60 years, S. elaeagnifolium has spread from an initial few accidental introductions to monospecific stands particularly in Greece and Morocco. The species has negative impacts on crops (causing up to 75 % yield losses) as well as harbouring plant pests and diseases. The species is also toxic to livestock. A key criterion to reducing the impacts of this species is the implementation of integrated national and regional management practices aimed at prevention and control. Cultural methods can be effective at controlling S. elaeagnifolium, and such methods include deep ploughing and frequent cutting during the flowering stage. Herbicide treatment can be effective and glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide in Morocco; however, its efficacy is variable. Biological control could be an option for the species in the region in the future and researchers in South Africa have released two leaf-feeding beetles, Leptinotarsa texana and Leptinotarsa defecta in 1992. L. texana has proved very effective, inflicting significant damage to the plant. In conclusion, the management of S. elaeagnifolium requires coordination, education and support across the affected countries.
Uludag A, Gbehounou G, Kashefi J, Bouhache M, Bon M, Bell C, Lagopodi AL (2016) Review of the current situation for Solanum eleagnifolium in the Mediterranean Basin. EPPO Bulletin 46, 139-147.