T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Solanum pseudocapsicum (Jerusalem cherry)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. pseudocapsicum
Binomial name: Solanum pseudocapsicum
Synonyms: Solanum ipecacuanha
Common names: Jerusalem cherry, Madiera cherry, Madeira Winter Cherry, Winter cherry.


This plant is poisonous
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Solanum pseudocapsicum is a perennial nightshade species native to Peru and Ecuador. All parts of this plant are poisonous. It can be grown decoratively as house plants but in some areas of Australia and New Zealand the plant has become a weed. In New Zealand they are usually found in warmer frost free areas of both the North and South Islands.
Its and erect bushy perennial plant up to 1.2 m tall with dark green stalked leaves >12cm long. 15 mm diameter white star flowers with fused petals appear October to May and these are followed by round glossy berries that turn from green to yellow to orange to red as they slowly ripen. The red berries are 10-15 mm in diameter and look like the common sweets called Jaffas. 
Solanum pseudocapsicum generally lives up to 10 years, producing fruit usually in their second or third year, and every year after that. They are congeners (within the same genus) of tomatoes and the fruit is extremely similar to cherry tomatoes in taste and texture, and are therefore easily confused with them.
The Solanum pseudocapsicum poison is primarily solanocapsine, which is similar to other alkaloids found in their genus, such as solanine and atropine. Although the toxin is poisonous, it is generally not life threatening. Ingestion has only been known to be extremely fatal for young children. Ingestion may cause gastric problems, including vomiting and gastroenteritis. Solanum pseudocapsicum is also highly poisonous to dogs, cats and some birds. It is usually ignored by livestock and no cases of animal poisoning have been reported.

  All parts of this plant are poisonous.

    




  

The green fruit before turning to bright red.
    



The underside of a leaf.