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Dwarf tamarillo

Height:

1.2 m

Spread:

1 m

Foliage:

Green

Blooms:

White, July to September

Fruit:

Orange, edible, August to October

Exposure:

Full sun

Soil:

Rich and moist, but well-drained

Hardiness:

Annual


Dwarf tamarillo (Solanum abutiloides)

A member of the nightshade family (along with tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers, etc.), dwarf tamarillo produces loads of pretty white flowers all summer long that turn into attractive green fruit, quickly ripening to orange. The plant is endemic to Argentina and Bolivia, where it grows wild in rocky soil on mountains, stream banks and scrubland between 900 and 3600 metres in elevation. It is called dwarf tamarillo for its superficial resemblance to true tamarillo (Solanum betaceum). Like true tamarillos, unripe dwarf tamarillos are mildly toxic, but are safe to eat once they turn a uniform orange.

Dwarf tamarillo adapts readily to different types of soil, but thrives in rich, moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Although it belongs to the nightshade family, this plant suffers little insect and disease damage, in part because it contains antifungal sesquiterpenes.