I just found this info on a forum "I Dig My Garden". (Never heard of them before.)
From someone that has grown them for several years:
"Chichiquelite plants are related to tomatoes and peppers.
Huckleberry plants are related to blueberries.
I'm disappointed that BC is perpetuating this misnomer.
Also BC list the maturity at 75 days. Only partially true. You will get the first ripe berry at about 75 days. You'll get the second ripe berry a day later. But don't worry, you'll have more than enough after 100 days.
They are ripe when they turn black but wait a few days as they seem to get a bit sweeter. There's no hurry to pick the berries as they stay on the bush for weeks. It is tedious to pick individual berries, pick ripe clusters instead. Hold your palm under the cluster and bring your fingers together just above the cluster. Gently pull the berries into your palm.
Young children are fond of these berries. The green berries are mildly poisonous but don't worry about children eating them, they are very bitter.
If you have an exceptional plant it is easy to propagate; just put a tip cutting in water, it will root readily.
They mix well with other fruits. Quite nice sprinkled over lime or lemon sherbet.
My best plants last year were volunteers. I'm only starting 2 plants inside this year as I plan on selecting the best volunteers for the rest.
Save seed as you would tomatoes. Mash the berries in a glass and add an inch of water. Let it sit in a warm place for 4-5 days and you should see a mold form on the surface. Pour off most of the liquid (the seeds will be on the bottom). Add fresh water and pour it off. Pour the seeds and the remaining water through a fine kitchen strainer.
You may wish to grow them in a tomato cage or on a trellis as they are sprawling plants.
BTW The name comes from Chichiquelite, Mexico where it was selected from wild plants.
They won't cross with any thing except Solanum nigrum. It grows wild in the Pacific NW. They are more frost resistant than peppers and tomatoes."
And someone else says:
"I'm talking about the chichiquelite berry grown from seed -- I got mine from BC -- that is sold as a huckleberry but is not -- it's related to tomatoes and peppers and tastes a little like a mild sweet tomato. This berry grows from seed to a green plant that can be as much as 5 ft high and rambles a bit -- I planted several indoors and then transplanted about 6" apart along a trellis in the middle of a 4 ft wide bed. They started really slow but, after the heat and rain combo hit, took over the trellis, and grew all through the bush beans on the north and herbs on the south. The berries are everywhere and do get sweeter as they stay on the plants. We share them with coworkers and friends and the birds -- they eat more of these than cherry tomatoes. Everyone either loves them or hates them. We didn't grow enough to get serious about cooking with them. I think they'd make a good syrup or preserve and would mix well with other fruits if you didn't have enough to mess with."
Thanks... I had read thru that and much more after googling last nite. The more I read through different sites, the more conflicting the information became.
Two things I did glean were 1) the plant resembles a bell pepper plant and the flea beetles savor them to which I thought SWELL!!! 2) no one below the Mason Dixon line has either grown or perhaps not posted about their experiences. LOL
So after googling mass confusion, I came to DG and did a search. Found darn little info and the only chichi growers I found here were northern ~ go figure. Now, I don't have anything against northerners ( I was one) but I know how different our gardening circumstances are so I started this thread.
Seeing as they came from Mexico, I suspect they should do well for me after I found how things like epazote and estafiate can take over here.
An example of the confusion... from your post above "They won't cross with any thing except Solanum nigrum."
And yet the seeds I have came from a reputable southern heirloom dealer and were sold as Chichiquelite ~ Solanum nigrum.
Appreciate your effort and hope this will sort out in my mind sooner or later...
Kristi ~ who needs more coffee before heading off to work. Have a good day.
Chichiquelite is apparently a variety name for one of the black nightshades. Only growing reference in Plantfiles is for a location in Texas. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/124539/. Varieties of the black nightshade are used for human consumption. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/edible/msg1114225430251.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_nigrum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wQSggwZhC4 http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Solanum+nigrum
Thank you for those links FarmerDill. I had looked at the plantfiles but your link reminded me to see where Everman TX was located.
For me, the most informative was the Pfaf.org link. It indicated the best growing conditions for this plant. That was one of the things I was searching for... I normally am drawn to the edu links but found none for this plant.
These used to grow wild in my yard. I received a seed packet as an extra on an order. I just threw them around the yard and they grew and reseeded. Since they look almost identical to the wild Nightshade, I decided to not eat them. In fact, many people believe they are just a variation on the wild Nightshade. The payoff just didnt seem worth it with all my pets and three year old nephew next door.
On a similar note, I am growing perennial ground cherries from the Carolinas in hope to cross breed them with my South American and native Texas ground cherries. That would be the bomb. My land is covered with inedible ground cherries but with a little tinkering... maybe.