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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Winter Cherries (Solanum capsicastrum)

These 'Winter Cherries' (Solanum capsicastrum) are everywhere in garden centres at the moment. They add a lot of seasonal cheer to the house at this dark time of the year, and providing the plant is kept cool and in a brightly lit area these fruits will stay on for weeks and weeks. Native to Peru and Ecuador, they can survive frosts and cold weather. They generally live up to 10 years, producing fruit usually in their second or third year, and every year after that. They are congeners of tomatoes and the fruit is extremely similar to cherry tomatoes in taste and texture, and are therefore easily confused with them. Despite the common name this plant is a type of Nightshade and in common with much of that genus is very poisonous, so keep it away from young children or inquisitive pets this Christmas!

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