Scarlet Eggplant, Mock Tomato Mini Pumpkins, Japanese Golden Eggs 'Ruffled Red'

Solanum aethiopicum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: aethiopicum (ee-thee-OH-pik-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Ruffled Red
Additional cultivar information:(aka Red Ruffled)
Synonym:Solanum integrifolium
Synonym:Solanum integrifolium var. microcarpum
Synonym:Solanum gilo



Edible Fruits and Nuts


Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

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

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall


Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Phoenix, Arizona

Longmont, Colorado

Brooksville, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Snellville, Georgia

Valparaiso, Indiana

Barbourville, Kentucky

Dunmor, Kentucky

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Bremerton, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 22, 2009, keenanmsc from Rock Hill, SC wrote:

This plant gives a lovely front border to a front yard vegetable garden (the only place I have sun) but now I want to eat it! Does anyone have recipes or know how the orientals use this in cooking?


On Dec 8, 2008, HortusIII from Portland, OR wrote:

15 years ago in Phoenix, AZ I planted seed from a dried flower arrangement. Most seedlings died (damping off?). One plant thrived and overwintered. No fruit set until late summer of the second year, but then the plant went crazy! It grew large, heavily branched and set fruit till christmas. It grew well outdoors in a clay pot year round and lived atleast three years as I recall. No problems with disease and minor infestations with green aphis. Potting soil was mixed 1:1 with native fine sand. Pot was about 2 quart size. Light fertilizing with 5:10:5 liquid fertilizer every time I watered.


On Sep 5, 2008, CurtisJones from Longmont, CO wrote:

From your friends at Botanical Interests: This 3' tall ornamental eggplant is often called, "Pumpkin on a Stick". Its purple star-shaped flowers are followed by 2" wide miniature fruits that look like tiny pumpkins!. In the U.S., it is mostly used ornamentally, because the cut branches with fruit intact look amazing in cut flower arrangements for fall or Halloween display. But, it is also an edible heirloom eggplant with a somewhat bitter taste that is used in Asian cooking. Also called, Red China or Scarlet Chinese Eggplant. Fruits will begin to ripen in about 60-75 days after transplanting seedlings outdoors.


On Feb 27, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have not grown this eggplant; am adding this for information only.

Originally introduced as an ornamental in the 19th century. Referred to as miniature pumpkins by florists. An abundance of 2" fruits are borne in clusters on 20" plants. Fruits are bitter, but used extensively in Asian cuisine. 65-75 days from transplant.


On Sep 3, 2006, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a very cool plant! I am so glad that I grew it this year. A WICKEDLY beautiful bush with blue-green leaves that have purple veins and purple spines which coordinate perfectly with the deep purple stems and flowers that have just a hint of purple in them. The fruits look like mini pumpkins about 2" across, they start out green then slowly turn to orange and then to red - these colors really POP growing next to those dark purple stems.

These grow in quite DRY and HOT conditions, taking the FULL FLORIDA SUN with no problem at all. The only pests I've noticed are the ubiquitous pumpkin/stink bugs on the fruits. These are super easy to grow from seed and, if planted in early summer, you'll have the orange/red fruits by fall.