Pampas Lily-of-the-Valley

Salpichroa origanifolia (Lam.) Baillon

Synonyms - Atropa rhomboidea, Atropa origanifolia, Physalis origanifolia, Salpichroa rhomboidea, Withania origanifolia.

Family: - Solanaceae.


Salpichroa is from the Greek salpinx meaning trumpet and chroa meaning skin or complexion and refers to the shape and texture of the flower.

Origanifolia is derived from Oregano or Marjoram and folium meaning leaf inferring the leaves are like Oregano leaves.

Pampas Lily-of-the-Valley refers to the origin of the plant on the pampas of South America and the similarity to the ornamental Lily-of-the-valley.

Other names:

Lily-of-the-valley Vine (NZ, USA).


Long spreading or climbing stems to over 3000 mm long with smothering habit, strong odour and bell shaped, white flowers. Annual tops with a perennial rhizomatous root system.





Alternate or paired at the nodes, pairs unequal in size.

Stipules - None.

Petiole - Distinct, slender about the same length or shorter than the leaf blade.

Blade - Kite-shaped or oval and very variable in size, from 5-40 mm long by 8-15 mm wide, thin, smooth edged tapering to the petiole. Tip usually rounded. Sparsely and shortly hairy.


Green, many, arising from a rootstock, wiry, zig zag, much branched. Initially erect then straggling or vine like and up to 3000 mm long. It may also form semi erect shrubs to 1000 mm tall. Sparsely to densely hairy with forward pointing, curved, multicellular hairs. Stems become square with age.

Flower head:

One or two together in the leaf axil, produced among much of the length of the stem.


Creamy white, bell shaped, 6-10 mm long, hanging down on a short, thread like, 7-10 mm long, stalks(peduncles) which curve downwards with age. Bisexual.

Ovary - 2 celled, surrounded by a fleshy disk. Style thread like. Stigma almost flat topped.

Calyx - 2-3 mm long with narrowly triangular, 1-2 mm long lobes. Hairy with curved hairs.

Petals - White or cream, 6-10 mm long, bell shaped with 5, short, 1.5-2 mm long, bent back, triangular lobes, constricted at the throat and below the middle, with a woolly ring inside the throat.

Stamens - 5, Filaments, straight hairy towards the base, equal length, attached at the middle of the corolla tube.

Anthers - 5, 2 mm long, arrow shaped, 2 celled, opening inwards by lengthwise slits to the base, in mouth of corolla tube or sticking out slightly, attached on the back.


Yellow or white, egg shaped to oblong or somewhat conical, fleshy berry, 10-20 mm long by 7-8 mm wide, 2 celled, many seeded, aromatic.


Brown to pale yellow, flattened, disk shaped, 2 mm diameter, pitted, narrowly winged, surrounded by mucous.


Vigorous rhizomes. Woody or fleshy, stout rootstock, up to 100 mm or more in diameter. Rhizomes spread horizontally and vigorously and have grown under a road 10 metres wide. Up to 1000 mm deep.

Key Characters:

Perennial, spineless, climbing or scrambling herb.

Stems weak, herbaceous, without spines

Flowers solitary or paired in leaf axils.

Calyx not bladdery, not or scarcely enlarged in fruit.

Corolla bell shaped with a long, cylindrical tube and 5 lobes.

Stamens 5, filaments hairy towards the base.

Anthers 2 celled, opening inwards and longitudinally to the base, not connivent around the style, in mouth of corolla tube.

Berry white or pale yellow.

Seeds flattened.

Embryo distinctly curved.

From J.M. Black, N.T. Burbidge and J.R. Wheeler.


Life cycle:

Perennial. Seed germinates from spring to early summer and forms an extensive root system over summer. Top growth is killed by autumn frosts. New growth from rootstocks and laterals starts in late winter to spring. Flowers are produced at all times of the year with a peak from early summer through into autumn. In Tasmania top growth may die off over winter.


Drought tolerant.


By seed and rhizomes.

Flowering times:

February to March in Perth.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Rhizomes and rootstock.



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Originally spread by intentional planting.

Reproduction is by seed or vegetatively from the roots, the latter appearing to be the more important.

Spread by cultivation and road making shifting root fragments and by the disposal of garden refuse.

Seed is spread by birds, rats and ants and in mud and on clothing.

Birds eat the fruit.

Origin and History:

South America.

A garden escape.

Naturalised in Victoria by 1919.

It was deliberately introduced from South Australia into Burnie, Tasmania as a food source for bees in the 1930's.



Recorded for WA but probably not naturalised.

In Tasmania, the plant is only known to occur in Burnie and in South Launceston and is only found in urban areas in gardens and on roadsides.



Temperate. Mediterranean.

Often in semi arid situations.


Most abundant on alkaline sandy soils.

Plant Associations:




Honey Plant.

Fruit is used in preserves and sold in South American markets.


Weed of gardens, vegetables, orchards and disturbed areas.

This is an invasive species with a smothering growth habit that eliminates most other species including shrubs and fruit trees.

Infested gardens cannot be used for growing vegetables or ornamental plants.


Possibly toxic but no losses have been recorded.


Noxious weed of VIC and TAS.

Secondary Weed of Tasmania.

Management and Control:

Difficult to eradicate because of regrowth from vigorous rhizomes.


Eradication strategies:

Difficult to eradicate, all roots must be removed.

Treat small infestations just before flowering with a mixture of 1 litre of Tordon 75-D plus 250 mL of Pulse Penetrant in 100 litres of water. Spray a buffer area 5-10 metres wide around the infestation. Cultivate in late summer to expose rhizomes. Repeat annually or when regrowth appears.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:


Plants of similar appearance:


Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P227. Photo.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P752. Diagram.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P320.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P236.

Hyde-Wyatt, B.H. and Morris, D.I. (1980) The Noxious and Secondary Weeds of Tasmania. (Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania).P58-59. Diagram.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1081.1.

Marchant, N.G., Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Bennett, E.M., Lander, N.S. and Macfarlane, T.D. (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P533.

Parsons, W.T. and Cuthbertson, E.G. (1992). Noxious weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P607-608. Photos.


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