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Plants you aren’t growing, but should be: Solanum muricatum, pepino dulce

June 24, 2013

Solanum muricatum: One of many members of the Solanaceae family. Close relatives of this plant include Brugmansia spp, Iochroma spp, Datura spp., Tomatoes, Eggplants, Peppers, Potatoes, and many more. It’s a very diverse group of plants ranging from highly toxic to highly edible. I have an inexplicable fondness for all members of the Solanaceae family, Solanum muricatum, or Pepino Dulce, is one of the edible Solanaceae species I am growing this year.

Pepino dulce is thought to have originated the temperate mountain regions of South America: Colombia, Chile, and Peru, however, the plant has never been encountered growing in the wild so the details of its origins remain unknown. Early Spanish chroniclers reported cultivation of the plant in the Moche Valley where, in addition to being a food crop, its fruit was a popular motif in Moche art. A range of cultivars are grown commercially today in New Zealand, W. Australia and Chile.

S. muricatum is a fairly hardy plant and can be found growing anywhere from sea level to 10,000 ft. It prefers to be grown in a frost-free environment, sun or part shade. It can be easily propagated from seed and, more commonly, cuttings.

Here is a photo of the Solanum muricatum flower and leaves. I’ll post a photo of the fruit when there is a fruit to photo.

Solanum muricatum, Solanaceae, pepino

And below, a more up – close and detailed photo of the Solanum muricatum leaf.

Solanum muricatum, Solanaceae, pepino

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2013 10:08:43 am

    What’s the edible part of this plant?

  2. June 24, 2013 10:08:47 pm

    I didn’t include a photo above, but I will upload one a bit later in the summer. The plant has a fruit, sort of a cross between a cucumber and a melon, smells like a melon. Fruit is somewhat oblong / oval with one end more pointed then the other, about the size of a peach.

  3. June 24, 2013 10:08:38 pm

    The fruit is pretty. My nan grew them and ate them and her fruits were hand sized (maybe because it was a hotter climate than here?) that was years ago when I was a teenager (last century 😉 ) they grow like weeds from a cutting. I just put 2 cuttings into some water in the bathroom and forgot about them and they struck in the water. Lots of root production and I get the feeling that they would be very easy to grow if you wanted to cultivate lots of them for your property. The fruit is “mild” but you could use it to carry a salad or fruit salad or in making jams and perserves. Not bad, not great just “mild” sort of cucumbery with a hint of melon.

    • June 24, 2013 10:08:11 pm

      Ah, so my disclaimer (in parenthesis) in the title of this post was included with you Tasmanians in mind. However it appears as if this one made it in…

      • June 24, 2013 10:08:41 pm

        My friend (who gave me the cuttings) works in a local nursery (small) outlet and this was readily available and does grow like topsy, no disclaimer needed this time (however most probably that disclaimer needs to be utilised regularly in our case 😉 )

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