Solanum repandum G. Forst.

Pacific Tomato (Solanum repandum)

Distribution:

Cook Islands: Mangaia, Rarotonga
Fiji: Ovalau, Rabi, Viti Levu
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Nuku Hiva
Niue
Samoa: Olosega (ex), ‘Upolu (ex)
Society Islands: Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Eua (ex)
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

boro sou – Fiji
huou – Marquesas
kokou – Marquesas
lokumoka – Niue
moreirei – Mangaia / Cook Islands
rerei – Rarotonga / Cook Islands
sou – Fiji
sousou – Fiji
sou vuti – Fiji
tauloku – Futuna, ‘Uvea / Wallis & Futuna
taulo’u – Samoa
touolku – Tonga
vuani – Fiji

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This species is native to Asia or Melanesia and is obviously found in the Polynesian region exclusively in association with human disturbances and is thus most probably not native to Polynesia.

The Polynesian plants were originally described as Solanum repandum G. Forst., but appear to be a cultivated form of the Asian Solanum ferox L., and are now sometimes named as Solanum ferox var. repandum (G. Forst.) Bitter. [1][2]

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There is, however, still very much confusion about the origin of the Polynesian plants, since they may be a spineless form of the Asian Solanum lasiocarpum Dunal or may originate from the American Solanum sessiliflorum Dunal, which seems to be quite similar to it – thus, I prefer to call it by its first name until its identity is fully resolved.

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The species is now extinct in large parts of its former range, for example in Samoa and Tonga. [2]

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 5. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1991
[2] Art Whistler: Biodiversity Conservation Lessons Learned Technical Series. 2: The Rare Plants of Samoa. Conservation International 2011

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