Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Wonderberry, Sunberry
Solanum x burbankii

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: x burbankii (bur-BANK-ee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Solanum scabrum
Synonym:Solanum melanocerasum
Synonym:Solanum nigrum guineense

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By biro
Thumbnail #1 of Solanum x burbankii by biro


4 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive gatineau On Oct 3, 2014, gatineau from Val-des-Monts, QC (Zone 4a) wrote:

My 1st year: plants were up to 30" in zone 4a (Gatineau mountains) and resisted -1C with bubble wrap pegged to the cages; have resisted 2C no covering without loosening ripe berries and continue to flower.
Mine took 30-90 days to germinate in flats outdoors so germination is probably heat dependent. acid tolerant, sandy poor soil is fine, 6-8 h direct sun at peak summer and mine only required light watering 4x after planting out. even the latest two 4-6" produced heavily.1/2 have ripened by now. I found them sweet and they never got further than my mouth! Does anyone know whether green berries finished inside (upside down, drying) makes them safe? I will try germination rates on green berries. I am also going to transplant back to pots, bring in under flourescents, will test groups: left alone in 5gal buckets, cutting back branches, and/or trimming roots and small pots on test groups, except for a group of 5, which I will try outdoor wintering. They are not gas heat tolerant: one seed germinated; I kept that one in a 12" pot and it reached 18" very prolifant. They don't seem to want to air layer or propagate by putting a rock on a lower branch. Don't need support at 30" (I put cages over in Sept to support a covering)
Attract predator hoverflies as well as bees, and non violent wasps!
I have seeds to trade for anything zone 5 or lower or if you are near Ottawa, ON willing to trade seedlings next Spring. Will update on wintering results next Spring, and results on volunteers (self seeding), also on wildlife preferance.

Positive dragonjr On Apr 15, 2013, dragonjr from De Land, IL wrote:

We grew garden huckleberry (Solanum guineense) last summer. I did not start them indoors. I direct sowed them in a garden row from three-year-old "free with purchase" seeds. They germinated within a week with a very good rate of germination. We were in an "exceptional" drought area last year, so I watered them daily. The garden huckleberry plants thrived along with the other nightshades in the heat. The plants reached a height of 4'-5'. The blooms really attracted bees to our garden. Each plant had upwards of 100 fruits or more on it. The fruits are about the diameter of my thumb. They do not taste like sweet berries raw, even after the first frost and turning dull. However, cook them, then stir in sugar, and something wonderful happens--they smell and taste delicious and make a wonderful rich purple canned fruit. I served cobblers made with home canned garden huckleberries, and people thought that they were delicious. The color fooled some into guessing the cobblers were made with blueberries, though I find the taste very different myself. Warning: This is a nightshade, so the green parts of the plants are poisonous, just like tomatoes, potatoes, jimsonweed, and other nightshade plants. The berries are poisonous until they turn black. It is best to wait to pick and process them until after the first frost and when the berries go from shiny to dull. This plant is a winner for our area!

Negative Jon_R On May 21, 2011, Jon_R from Prescott, AZ wrote:

Wikipedia reports the unripe (green) fruit is poisonous.

Positive biro On Feb 5, 2011, biro from Friendship, OH (Zone 7b) wrote:

Extremely easy to grow, even easier than tomatoes. Doesn't seem to be very finicky with regards to watering and soil type. Fruits appear quickly but take quite a while to ripen. They are best when left on the plant as long as possible and turn from glossy to dull. The fruit quality is variable, from bland to pretty tasty. The tastiest ones had a citrus and blueberry-esque flavor. I never cooked with them; I only ate them fresh. I will probably grow them again this year to see how they fare as a jam.

Neutral cgoodloe On Jul 19, 2010, cgoodloe from Clovis, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Got my first ripe berries and I'm not impressed. I'm sure that if you want to make pies and have enough berries that it would be really good, but raw off the plant they have very little flavor and are purple balls full of seeds. They do not even compare to lovely fresh blueberries. I don't have enough room to grow enough plants to really get enough for a pie so I won't be growing these anymore in my small garden. Would rather make room for blueberries you can eat off the bush.

Not only that but some pest here in the San Joaquin Valley loves this bush and has eaten alot of leaves and left holes in most of the berries. Could be grasshoppers or caterpillars. No aphids though so that's a plus.

Just my 2 cents.


Positive scirpidiella On Feb 22, 2009, scirpidiella from Pińczw
Poland (Zone 6b) wrote:

Do not confuse S. retroflexum (syn. S. x burbankii ) (wonderberry), with S. scabrum (syn. S. melanocerasum, S. nigrum guineense) (garden huckleberry) - these are two different species. Solanum x burbankii this is a synonym name of Solanum retroflexum (accepted name).The names: S. melanocerasum and S. nigrum guineense these are the synonyms of other plant - Solanum scabrum (accepted name) - garden huckleberry.
Solanum retroflexum (= S. x burbankii) this is a hybrid of Solanum scabrum (garden huckleberry) and S. vilosum (woolly nightshade).This species was breeded by Luther Burbank.
This plant is easy to grow. This gives a high yield. It quickly begins to bear fruit. Fruits are very tasty.

Neutral NatureWalker On Apr 19, 2006, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

80 days from transplant. Although a lot of companies are stating that this is a "new" plant variety, it has been cultivated for at least decades. An interesting looking plant, similar to tomato plants with pepper-like leaves. They reach about 3 feet in height and produce hundreds of 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch dark purple, almost black, fruit. Grows with very little effort.

Harvest when the fruit turns from glossy to dull. They have little flavor raw and only used cooked into pies and preserves and can be canned and frozen for later use in recipes. Although they do not have a strong taste, some people may not care for them while others will love them.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Prescott, Arizona
Berkeley, California
Clovis, California
North Fork, California
San Jose, California
Seaside, California
Honolulu, Hawaii
Wahiawa, Hawaii
Farmer City, Illinois
Lebanon, Kansas
Austin, Texas

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