Solanum linnaeanum is a nightshade species known as devil's apple and, in some places where it is introduced, apple of Sodom. The latter name is also used for other nightshades and entirely different plants elsewhere.
This poisonous plant bearing tomato-like fruit is native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and is considered to be an invasive species in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji, New Caledonia, Aseer region of Saudi Arabia, Northern areas of Pakistan and other Pacific Islands.
Solbec Pharmaceuticals attempted to develop Coramsine, a 1:1 mixture of the alkaloids solamargine and solasonine extracted from Solanum linnaeanum, as a cancer drug. Preliminary clinical trials were initially promising, but the drug was ultimately unsuccessful.
Solanum linnaeanum may be confused with Solanum cinereum (Narrawa burr) in Australia, the neotropical Solanum capsicoides, or Solanum incanum in Africa.
Due to confusion about what species the original Solanum sodomeum of Carl Linnaeus referred to, the old description was discarded and the plant redescribed as currently understood. A new taxon honoring Linnaeus was chosen. A number of invalid taxa have thus become attached to the devil's apple:Solanum astrophorum Jan (nomen nudum)
Solanum hermannii Dunal
Solanum mccannii Santapau
Solanum sodomeum L.
Solanum sodomeum var. hermannii (Dunal) Dunal
Solanum sodomeum var. mediterraneum Dunal
Solanum undatum Bouton ex Dunal (preoccupied)
as described by Walsh is Solanum lycocarpum
, described by Dunal in de Candolle, is the original Solanum aethiopicum
It is not clear whether the plant described by Drège as Solanum sodomeum was of this species. Solanum sodomeum by Russ based on Nees von Esenbeck is another nomen nudum. Furthermore, the common name "Apple of Sodom" is also applied to the dogbane species Calotropis procera.