Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Fire-and-Ice Plant, Litchi Tomato, Morelle de Balbis, Sticky Nightshade
Solanum sisymbriifolium

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: sisymbriifolium

Synonym:Solanum sisymbrifolium

One vendor has this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Light Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Lokoliki On Jul 11, 2014, Lokoliki from Saint Helena, CA wrote:

Haven't tasted the fruit yet, but this plant is definitely able to self-fertilize. I only have one in bloom and there is essentially no chance that it was pollinated by another, unless some sort of alien pollen worked. Looks very cool and has beautiful foliage, but beware the spines, they are SHARP! (and somewhat woody) Grows well in a wide variety of lighting conditions and doesn't need much water or root space. Would be good for planting around other crops to provide them shade and distract caterpillars, aphids, etc.

Positive VineWorld On Dec 27, 2012, VineWorld from Syracuse, UT (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant requires two separate plants to achieve fruiting, i.e. it's self-infertile. The fruit itself is an edible red berry that is covered in a spiny husk that breaks itself apart while the fruit is ripening. It is much like a tomatillo (but with big, sharp spines!)

Solanum sisymbriifolium is an annual or perennial erect, rhizomatous herb about 1 metre in height. The stem and branches are viscid, hairy, and armed with flat, orange-yellow spines up to 15mm in length. The ovate to lanceolate leaves are borne on petioles 1-6cm long and are pubescent both above and below with stellate and glandular hairs. The leaves are pinnately divided into 4-6 coarse lobes and may be up to 40cm long and 25cm wide. Inflorescences emerge from the foliage and are internodal, unbranched racemes composed of 1-10 perfect or staminate flowers. The 5-parted flowers are white, light blue, or mauve, about 3cm in diameter, and are subtended by a hairy calyx 5-6mm long. Erect, converging anthers are 8-10mm long, and ovary is puberulent with a style 1cm long. Red, succulent, globular berries are 12-20mm in diameter with pale yellow seeds 2.9-3.2mm long (Bean, 2006; D'arcy, 1974; Radford et al., 1968).

This plant is most well known for its ability as a trap crop for potato cyst nematodes (PCN). It stimulates the hatching of PCN juveniles yet is completely resistant to them, it has been known to reduce PCN populations by 50-80%.

When planted in the field, Solanum sisymbriifolium germinates in 2-4 weeks. It may grow slowly for the first 4-6 weeks, but growth following that period can be vigorous (PCN Control Group, 2004).

I will add more about my experiences in 2013 as I grow them.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 7, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Plant grows to 4-5' and gets large white flowers, summer- frost, followed by clustered, round red fruits which, with the white blooms and thorns that cover the plant at the same time, make it a striking plant.


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

Palo Alto, California
Lakeland, Florida
Syracuse, Utah

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