- 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.
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.
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.