Solanum elaeagnifolium in Tunisia
Solanum elaeagnifolium (Solanaceae: EPPO A2 List) is native to north-east Mexico and south-west USA and is found within the EPPO region in Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Morocco, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Syria and Tunisia. In the case of the latter, it was first identified around 1985 at Sbikha in the Kairouan district and has since spread rapidly becoming a potential threat to natural and agricultural habitats. In 2014, the plant was mapped in the Chott-Mariem region in central-east Tunisia. The region was divided into 105 survey plots and surveys were conducted in June and July with populations of the plant recorded using a hand held Global Positioning System (GPS). S. elaeagnifolium was found in 36 plots covering a total area of 195 ha. The percentage cover varied between plots where the majority (70 %) had 10-50 % cover and 22 % of plots had cover over 50 %. When comparing the current study to a similar study conducted in 2008, the occurrence of S. elaeagnifolium had increased by 50 % suggesting that current control methods are ineffective. S. elaeagnifolium can have negative impacts on crop and livestock production and control can be difficult in intensive agricultural systems. Isolated populations should be treated as soon as they appear and grain and crop harvests should be inspected from contaminated areas to prevent further spread.
Sayari N, Brundu G, Mekki M (2016) Mapping and monitoring an invasive alien plant in Tunisia: Silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) a noxious weed in agricultural areas. Tunisian Journal of Plant Protection 11, 219-228.