One of the spiny solanums - we've grown several over the years, each with its own defining characteristics, but all with vicious thorns. This one's thorns aren't the main attraction, nor is it the modest white flowers in early summer. Nope, the real show comes in late summer, when the fruit ripens. Starting with a stripey green, the fruit passes through a yellow stage to finally arrive at orange-red - all shaped like smallish squat tomatoes. A plant with each of the colors present looks quite festive!
||Solanum surrattense; S. xanthocarpum
||kantakari; Surrattense nightshade
annual or tender perennial
||germinate warm; nicking husk may help
detailed seed-starting info below
Note: I received a comment suggesting that this is in fact Solanum aculeatissimum, which is native to South America and also grows in Africa. A lot of these species are quite similar, so it's hard for a non-botanist to tell for sure!
This plant used to grow in our garden, but it slipped away...
Read the other spiny solanums in our garden
Seed for this plant is included on my seed trade list
About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Solanum virginianum
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Christina Horton||May 18, 2010||Solanum Virginianum...This plant has shown up in my horse pasture and we have NO idea how it got there. None of the other horses pastures have it...and this year it is very prolific and seems to be growing wherever my horse goes potty...in other words in the manure! This is also the first year it has borne fruit...we live in Florida and don't know if the freeze had something to do with it. We have tried to think how only his has it...we feed pretty much the same thing to all the horses...but I have given something called MirraCoat from PetAg. But nothing in the ingredients should have had this plant in it. The only other thing I wondered is I used to give my horse some herbal remedies...but nothing was to have "nightshade" in it. I've given Chamomile, Lavender, Valerian...I'm at a loss. Any ideas?|
|Patricia Jerkins||Mar 01, 2011||We received 2 fruits from a nursey and don't really know what it is. The nursery didn't either. It looks like the picture of Solanum Virginianum (spiny leaves with red fruit like a small tomato). My dog ate part of one. I called my vet and described this to him and he told me to rush her to the vet. We took the fruit that was left and the leaf that we had and he said it looked like a nightshade variety and could be very toxic. He induced vomiting and my dog is still at the vet and I'm waiting to be able to go get her. Could you tell me if this is a toxic plant?|
Your comment arrived while we were on vacation - I hope your dog was OK. There are plenty of edible solanums, but I don't know either way if the fruits of this one are toxic, and I'm not planning to find out experimentally...
|Wolf||Jan 24, 2013||When you say cut the papery husk, did you mean the edge or right on the seed?
Also this looks a lot like Soda Apple, Cockroach Berry; Solanum Capsicoides.
I thought Kantakari had purple flowers and yellow fruit.|
I meant the papery flat edge around the bulkier seed. You may very well be right about the identity – my plants came from traded seed, and there's lots of identity confusion going around in gardening circles.
|Tracy||Feb 16, 2014||This has just appeared in our garden off the compost... I have no idea how!!?? Can you eat it? Or is it toxic?|
I don't know - and I'm not about to try :-). Solanums fall on both sides of the spectrum, and there are many that look similar to each other. So I treat 'm like mushrooms: don't eat them unless you're darn sure what they are.
|May Barreto||Jan 17, 2020||I have been searching for this plant (which I had fun memories of from my childhood) for a while. Not knowing the name making it difficult. Do you still have seeds that can be traded? I would love to have some seeds. |
I'm afraid not - I've discarded most of my Pennsylvania-era seeds since moving to Houston a few years ago.
- Seed from '05 trade. Baggy 75F (15%G, 14-28d; germination started shortly after cutting a few of the papery husks surrounding the seeds)
- Seed from '06 garden. Baggy 75F (100%G, 5-12d)
- Seed from '07 garden. Baggy 75F (95%G, 7-16d)
- Seed from '07 garden. Baggy 75F (100%G, 8-13d)
- Seed from '09 garden. Baggy 75F (89%G, 8-17d)
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common mis-spellings: surratense
August 23, 2014