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



Edible Fruits and Nuts

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Light Green


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Under 1"

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

This Plant is Least Concern (LC)

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Prescott, Arizona

Berkeley, California

Clovis, California

NORTH FORK, California

San Jose, California

Seaside, California

Cumming, Georgia

Honolulu, Hawaii

Wahiawa, Hawaii

New Plymouth, Idaho

Farmer City, Illinois

Lebanon, Kansas

Austin, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 18, 2019, nosepilot from Cumming, GA wrote:

We like eating wonderberry. We've grown wonderberry for maybe 5 years. It has no taste to speak of. Do potatoes? Do carrots have taste?

The babies love 'em. That's the problem. I'm pulling out the plants afraid that babies may eat green fruit. I'm trying to find out if it is true. Are unripe berries really deadly?

The plant is super east to grow. The seeds really take hold. From one plant, you'll have dozens the next. They grow in any soil, any light, any condition.


On Oct 11, 2017, HalifaxNS from Halifax,
Canada wrote:

I had never heard of this berry before, and got it as a bonus pack from Annapolis Seeds (Nova Scotia). I was shocked and delighted at how prolific and delicious these berries are. The plant (mine was only about 18 inches tall--in the ground, poor soil, my mother's was almost 3 feet--in a pot rich with compost) started producing berries in late June, and is still producing berries today, mid-October. (I'm in Halifax, Nova Scotia.)

The berries are tiny, easily squished (be careful when handling them, they burst easily), but are so incredibly sweet and delicious. To make sure they are ripe, check the bottoms of the berries. If there is any green whatsoever, leave them on the plant. The berry must be fully black (so purple, almost black) before it is ripe. It has a toxic bittern... read more


On Aug 9, 2017, shule from New Plymouth, ID wrote:

I purchased seeds from Baker Creek (sold as the Wonderberry, S. burbankii, developed by Luther Burbank; if you're reviewing this, make sure you're talking about the correct species, which has never been wild as it's a manmade hybrid between two species, according to Wikipedia, anyhow, although it possibly may be ferral in some places; I could see it reseeding easily; Solanum scabrum and Solanum melanocerasum are not the species I'm reviewing, but S. burbankii is; I don't know why those are so often considered synonyms, as they already belong to other plants). I grew S. burbankii in 2017. They are nice plants and very easy to grow. The fruits are very small, and taste excellent, IMO. They taste like watermelon (kind of acidic for watermelon, though), with a hint of bilberry. They are sweet ... read more


On Jul 27, 2015, janelp_lee from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

In Asia, they are wild. Nobody really growing them on purpose. People eat ripe dark berries as snack and cook the young shoots and leaves as leafy vegetable. Easy to grow from seeds and no maintenance!


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... read more


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... read more


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

Wikipedia reports the unripe (green) fruit is poisonous.


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.


On Jul 19, 2010, cgoodloe from Clovis, CA (Zone 9b) 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.



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.


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.