Variety from Peru
Variety from Peru
Solanum caripense is a species of evergreen shrub native to South America and grown for its edible fruit. Rare in cultivation, it is known as tzimbalo. The fruit closely resembles the related pepino
Solanum caripense is a species of evergreen shrub native to South America and grown for its edible fruit.
Rare in cultivation, it is known as Tzimbalo. Tzimbalo is a herbaceous shrub with deep green, lanceolate leaves that reaches a height of 30-50 cm. The fruit closely resembles the related Pepino, and it has been speculated that Solanum caripense may be the wild ancestor of the Pepino. Like the Pepino, the Tzimbalo is a relative of other nightshades cultivated for their edible fruit, including the tomato (S. lycopersicum), the naranjilla (S. quitoense) and the eggplant (S. melongena).
The fruit is infrequently cultivated in its native range of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile, but has been rediscovered on a small scale by heirloom gardeners elsewhere in the world. The Tzimbalo is presumed to be native to the temperate Andean regions of Colombia, Peru, and Chile. Like the Pepino, the Tzimbalo can bear fruit within 1 or 2 years from seed.
The fruits are round berries, to 2 cm in size, which ripens to yellow or pale green, with dark-colored longitudinal stripes. The flavor and texture, while similar to the Pepino, tends to be tangier and juicier. Like the Pepino, the Tzimbalo performs best in a warm, relatively frost-free climates. The plant can survive a low temperature of -2.5 °C (27 to 28 °F) if the freeze is very short, though it may drop many of its leaves. Like its close relatives, the species is a perennial, but its sensitivity to chilling, pests and diseases, along with its relatively long growing season serve as hindrances to large scale commercial exploitation.
The Tzimbalodoes adapt well to greenhouse cultivation. Like most edible nightshades, the Tzimbalo is highly attractive to pests like aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and spider mites.