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Common Name: Pepino
Solanum muricatum is a Evergreen Shrub up to 1.00 metres tall.
It has edible uses.
Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many if not all the members have poisonous leaves and sometimes also the unripe fruits.
S. America - Chile, Peru.
Succeeds in most well-drained soils in a sunny position[
]. If the soil is too fertile fruit production will suffer due to excess vegetative growth[
]. Requires a pH above 6 in order to avoid disorders such as manganese toxicity or iron deficiency[
Frequently cultivated for its edible fruit in S. America, there are some named varieties[
]. Yields of 40 - 60 tonnes per hectare have been achieved[
]. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, being cut to the ground by fairly light frosts. Seedlings show no resistance to frost, established plants are cut back at -3°c[
]. In a warm position and given a good mulch however, the roots can survive the winter and regrow from the base in the spring. Cuttings are exceedingly easy and these can be overwintered in a greenhouse to provide fresh plants for the following year[
]. Plants do not appear to have a sensitivity to day-length[
Plants can set fruit parthenocarpically (without fertilization or seed being formed) but self-fertilization or insect fertilization greatly encourages fruiting[
]. High temperatures, particularly above 30°c, at flowering time can cause the flowers to abort[
Fruit - raw. A juicy, sweet aromatic and very agreeable flavour[
], somewhat like a honeydew melon[
]. The skin of some varieties has a disagreeable flavour[
]. The fruit contains 35mg vitamin C per 100g, 7% carbohydrates and 92% water[
]. The fruit should be harvested just before it is fully ripe and will store for several weeks at room temperature[
]. The fruit is about 10cm long and 6cm wide[
Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame. Very easy. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.