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Cyphomandra/Solanum betacea, 20 seeds
Native to South Ameria, Cyphomandra betacea belongs to the same family as the garden tomato and is commonly called Tree Tomato or Tamarillo. Growth habit, however, is very different as it quickly forms a small woody tree with an umbrella-like canopy. Frost tender when young, it is quite tropical-looking with many large, velvety leaves. Flowers from late spring through summer. After blooming, a single mature specimen grown in rich, evenly moist soil will carry more fruits than a noraml family can eat for about 3 months. Each red egg-shaped fruit has been described as tasting somewhat like a tomato by some, although I personally think it tastes more like tangy, mildly-sweet passion fruit. These can be consumed in many ways -- directly eaten with sugar, boiled and blended with syrup to make juice, added to compote to impart a unique flavor or introduced to stews and chutneys as exotic ingredients. Hardy from zone 10 upwards. 12 feet tall, 8 feet wide. Full sun. Rich soil. Regular watering. Very fresh seeds, harvested 01/2012.
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