Pepino

Source: NobbiP

Pepino

Solanum muricatum or Pear Melon is a small shrub that produces edible fruits.

It belongs to the nightshade family, like potatoes and tomatoes.

Growth is strong and should it can be grown both in pot and in the ground.

It is not, however, very rustic.

Description:

Solanum muricatum is a small shrub with soft, supple stems that become woody at the base.

The leaves are green, elongated and measure about 15 cm long.

The flowers are small, white and purple and appear in clusters. Flowering occurs from May to September.

The fruits are round to oval berries, cream colored striped purple at maturity. The flesh is edible and tastes like melon. They need sun to ripen. Fruiting is most abundant below 30 ° C.

Common names:

Mataserrano, Melon-Pear, Melon Shrub, Pear Melon, Pepino, Pepino Dulce, Peruvian Pepino, Sweet Cucumber

Synonyms:

Solanum guatemalense, Solanum hebephorum, Solanum longifolium, Solanum melaniferum, Solanum muricatum f. glaberrimum, Solanum muricatum var. dissectum, Solanum muricatum var. papillosistylum, Solanum muricatum var. parvifolium, Solanum muricatum var. popayanum, Solanum muricatum var. praecedens, Solanum muricatum var. protogenum, Solanum muricatum var. teleutogenum, Solanum pedunculatum, Solanum saccianum, Solanum saccianum, Solanum scabrum, Solanum variegatum, Solanum wallisii

Etymology:

Solanum: from the Latin sol (sun) and -anus (dedicated to)
Muricatum: from the Latin murex (sharp or pointed rock)

Solanum muricatum flower

Source: Michael Wolf

Solanum muricatum flower

Origin:

Andes: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador

Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11, -2 °C

Soil:

Rich, well drained, acidic or neutral

Care:

The culture is very similar to that of tomatoes.

Temperature:

20-30 °C, above 30 °C fruiting is less abundant

Exposure:

Sun

Water:

Needs plenty water when the weather is hot, keep the soil moist.

Fertilizer:

Greedy plant, provide fertilizer weekly, universal or specialized tomato fertilizer.

Infestations:

Very sensitive to whiteflies and aphids, especially indoors, in a conservatory or a greenhouse.

Solanum muricatum plant

Source: Michael Wolf

Solanum muricatum plant

Propagation:

Seed, cuttings

Sowing instructions:

  • sow in spring in a light and moist substrate
  • 18-21 °C
  • germination time: 7-10 days
  • transplant seedlings in individual pots when they are big enough to be handled

Cutting instructions:

  • cuttings root very easily
  • does not require cutting hormone
  • plant in moist substrate
  • keep at room temperature

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