|Even the fruit is protected by thorns
|Papery-purple flowers in July
Another spiny solanum species. This one's yellow spines emerge from all the major leaf veins. Among the most striking in the species, at least that I've grown. As you can see in the photo above, they are a favorite with flea beetles - just like their edible eggplant cousins.
|Solanum pyracanthos, Solanum pyracanthum
|germinate with bottom heat
detailed seed-starting info below
|Striking color combination, courtesy of the shiny pink potato beetle larva contrasting with the orange spines
|Star shape on the flowers' backsides
This plant used to grow in our garden, but it slipped away...
Read the other spiny solanums in our garden
One or more images of this plant are included in my stock photo catalog
About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Solanum pyracanthon
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|May 03, 2008
|I was just given a Solanum Pyracanthum. It is about a foot high from the soil with about 10 leaves. I live in the desert by Palm Springs California. I was told it was grown from seed and was a native of Madagascar. I am not sure if I should plant it in the ground, leave it in a pot, and i am not sure how to care for it. Can you help?
I think it will grow well in a pot or in the ground - and it may be perennial for you. Make sure to keep it watered - I don't expect it to be particularly drought-tolerant.
|Jul 02, 2008
|Hi, I bought one of these plants and need to know how to take care of it.
Does it like morning sun, afternoon, or full? plant in the ground or keep it in a pot. Watering ?? If you know, could you please write me back with what you know.
Thank you much
Fellow plant lover
Main requirement is warm weather, and a decent amount of sun (a few hours of shade is OK). I've not seen them suffer from drought, but I imagine they don't like really dry conditions. Although mine go directly in the ground, a suitably sized pot should work as well.
|Jul 23, 2008
|I won one of these at a plant party in 2002. I now can't get rid of it, it has spread all over. the seeds germinate easily in zone 9b.
|Mar 03, 2009
|Born in Southern Africa, I took an interest in the wild plants.
I then moved to Australia and now I am in Ayutthaya Thailand.
In each of these countries I have discovered what I believe is one of the Solanum family, could I send a photo for possible identification??
Thanking you kindly.
Sounds interesting John - I'm sending you an email.
|Sep 15, 2009
|I just got a few of these plants and they have doubled in size now. Is so cal and I got them outside on a patio with no direct sun but in the sun all day. Now seeing white parts on some leaves and they are dying off. Too much water?
Could be. Let the top of the soil dry out before watering, that may help.
|Mar 27, 2010
|My grandmother gave me a procupine tomato and I don't know how to care for it. I've heard stories that they can germinate so quickly they overtake gardens. I will keep mine in the pot thankyou! My question was do these plants actually produce some sort of fruit? Is the fruit editable? Thankyou for your time! There is not much information out there on these guys!
|Mar 28, 2010
|Like Heather I am curious as to whether they are edible - the cautious side of me says no - but the need for such spines may mean something finds them tasty.
There certainly is fruit - looking like a yellow cherry tomato. I don't know if it's edible - many solanums are, of course (common eggplant being just one example), but then again, they are nightshades, and could be deadly.
|Nov 05, 2010
|Yes, the tomato IS in fact edible,but it is a very bitter fruit. The tomato is very small, but has a LOT of flavor to it. They winter over well, but require pest control, since it is very attractive to aphids, which will draw nutrients from the plant. Being that they are a fruit (tomato) the more sun the better, that is to say, they CAN'T get too much sun, just like any other fruit.
|Mar 27, 2011
|How quickly do they grow?
They can be slow to get going when temperatures are still cool, and flea beetles are on the prowl. When they get the conditions they like, they really leap in early summer; on the other hand, some years I've had them in areas where moisture hasn't been so reliable, and the soil not so rich, and they've been decidedly lackluster.
|Jun 01, 2012
|Though unrelated, the Mala Mujer looks just as evil.
And judging by what I've read, its effects on contact are rather worse than anything the solanum can muster...
|Jun 28, 2013
|I hate the porcupine tomato. I never planted it in my front yard so I'm guessing birds brought a seed to me 😝I love the flower but the plant spread everywhere . I tried to rid of it last fall but they are back. They grow very tall and the thorns are sharp. How can I rid of them for good.
|Jul 14, 2013
|I planted a seed,now have a very small plant,can it be in direct sun? I live in california where it does get 100+ degrees.
I dont want the plant to burn,it being just spouted from the soil.
Thanks for any info.
You could start hardening it off now – which would mean exposing your seedlings to increasing doses of sunlight. A corner that's in shade most of the day, but gets direct sun for an hour or so is a good start.
|Jul 16, 2013
|Thanks so much,its such a cute little plant,I can already see the little spines on the stem when the sun hits it.
Another question,where are the seeds found on the plant?are they in the flower?
Thanks for info
I wouldn't call it a "cute little plant" – a well-grown specimen gets quite large! The seeds are, as you might expect, inside the fruit, just like in a tomato or eggplant.
|Aug 06, 2013
|My plant now has approx 13 fruit on it,they havent changed in appearence,when will the fruit rippen,will the fruit fall off,or do I take them off?? My first plant, so I`m learning. If you can let enlighten me please.
It's been a few years since I last grew this, but as I recall, the fruit ripens to golden yellow. They are not likely to just fall from the plant when ripe, so if you wish to harvest them, you'll be picking them off the plant.
|Oct 22, 2013
|My son brought 2 of these plants home from the nursery he worked at for a while. Right now they look horrible, all stems and thorns with few leaves. What can I do to get them full again? I had them outside all summer and just brought them in ahead of our frosts. They currently reside on my dresser where they get eastern and southern exposure every day that we have sun. They are plants in organic soil to which I added compost this summer. Do they need fertilizer of some sort? If so, what type? Thanks!
I've not tried to keep these alive indoors - but my experience with pepper plants (in a related genus) is that they just aren't very happy with the lower light levels available indoors (especially in winter). I think your goal should be to get them through the season alive, so they can thrive again outside next year. Expecting them to look nice in the process might be asking too much.
|Dec 31, 2013
|I have one of these growing in my window in Downtown San Francisco. It went from about 3inches tall when purchased to the better part of two meters. It had a bout of spider mites which I dealt with, but during the winter it dropped a large number of leaves, but is still blooming. Anyway, I have a bunch of small tomatoes falling off of it, and I was thinking to make presents out of the some small plants. Any advice on growing this from the seeds I have?
The seeds should germinate within a week or two at warm temperature (80+F). The seedlings will be slow-growing at first, but within a couple of months you should have plantlets that are large enough to give away. Good luck!
- Seed from '05 trade. Baggy 75F (100%G, 6-12d)
- Seed from '05 trade. Baggy 75F (80%G, 8-12d)
Seed from '06 garden (brown, instead of tan, seeds). Baggy 75F (36%G, 10-15d)
- Seed from '07 garden. Baggy 75F (79%G, 7-12d)
- Seed from '08 garden. Baggy 75F (9%G, 12d).
Seed from '06 garden. Baggy 75F (30%G, 11-13d)
- Seed from '08 garden. Baggy 75F (4%G, 9-11d)
In 2007 the traded batch germinated better. Perhaps my seed did not have time to properly ripen. Likewise, the 2009 seed had poor germination, in this case perhaps because it was harvested after several hard freezes.
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