A Thorny Subject

We all make mistakes but at the time they don’t seem like mistakes, perhaps just over-enthusiasm, especially when I see something not readily available elsewhere. Fortunately my error was in my choice of only seed. I saw, I liked, I bought, simple as that. Litchitomate Solanium S. sisymbriifolium, or litchi tomato, and it’s various other names. Opinions of it differ just as much as it’s common names do. A weed, an heirloom plant, an ornamental plant. Whatever it’s name, or purpose, it is a native of South America and used in many ways for food. Although a member of the nightshade family, it is not a tomato. While it may look like a small cherry tomato it’s more like a sour cherry – with spines. I have not yet had the pleasure of tasting the fruit and with the number of prickles on it, I will be surprised even more if I get that far.


When you are a container grower, in your mind the container often stretches to fit the plant you want. However, I think I might be doing a lot of head scratching with fitting this one in. According to one description of it as ‘up to eight feet tall and wider than it’s tall’. As a result of that description I searched the internet, and anyone growing it seemed cool, calm and collected. They grow like tomatoes, and I can cope with tomatoes. They have a long growing season and you daren’t touch the fruit until the husk splits. I certainly didn’t see photographs of them reach the dimensions quoted, but I did see them growing wild in the field.

Treated like growing tomatoes, if you can find a mild, warm, quiet spot to put them in, they will certainly discourage intruders, including animals. They can be left to spread their leaves and produce fruit in peace, with the promise that they can be used as you would any other fruit and get a pot of jam at the end of it, and they might even come back next year.

Image by By C T Johansson – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43080943

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