Solanum quitoense Lam.
SolanaceaePotato Family

Flower
Flower
Fruit
Fruit



Identification
  - weak shrub to 2 m tall.
  - leaves pubescent, to 40 cm long, and spiny.
  - lavender-white flowers on short inflorescences.
  - tomato-sized orange fruit with dense, urticating hairs.

Description: An herb or weak shrub to 2 m; stems, branches and leaves armed with short spines; leaves densely pubescent with stellate hairs often giving a purplish caste, leaves usually solitary, petioles to 15 cm, blades reaching 30 x 40 cm, with several short lateral lobes; flowers on very short inflorescences, corolla white, 3-5 cm across, purplish pubescent outside; fruit globose, orange, 4-6 cm.

Similar species
Solanum accrescens
Solanum chrysotrichum

Local distribution: Both slopes, but mainly in cooler, wetter habitats on the Pacific side.

Habitat: Cultivated, but often escapes to pastures, roadsides, and agricultural landscapes.

Herbivores
Mechanitis menapis

Pollinators: Bees

Seed dispersers: Humans, birds, and (large mammals?)

Comments: Native to Ecuador and Colombia, the people here grow the plants for their fruits, which they use to make a uniquely flavored fruit drink called Naranjilla. The fruit itself is generally not eaten as is. They remove the urticating hairs by rubbing the fruit inside a few sheets of newspaper.



Credits: Images and text copyright 2002-2006 by William A. Haber, http://efg.cs.umb.edu/