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