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Solanum quitoense - Lam.

Common Name Naranjilla, Quito Orange
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The fruits are covered in stinging hairs, though these are easily removed[416 ]. Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most plants in the family Solanaceae also contain poisonous alkaloids. Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant[K ].(Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling )
Habitats Montane forests[435 ].
Range Western S. America - Ecuador, Colombia, Peru.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Solanum quitoense Naranjilla, Quito Orange

Solanum quitoense Naranjilla, Quito Orange


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Solanum quitoense, Naranjilla, is a subtropical perennial plant with large heartshaped or oval-shaped leaves and growing usually up to 3 m in height. It is shortlived and can flower and fruit all year round. It is hairy or thorny. The bright orange fruits, produced in clusters on the trunk, are eaten raw or cooked, mainly used in sauces and preserves. The flowers are pale violet. Naranjilla has no known medicinal value. It is propagated by seed sowing, cuttings, or grafting.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Solanum quitoense is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 2.5 m (8ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant is not wind tolerant.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Solanum angulatum Ruiz & Pav. Solanum macrocarpon Molina Solanum nollanum Britton Solanum quitense K

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses: Drink

Fruit - raw or cooked. It is used mainly in sauces and preserves[300 ]. The tart yet sweet flavour is very refreshing[435 ]. The pulp is very juicy[46 ]. The juice, which is rich in protein and minerals, is used in effervescent drinks[300 ]. The hairs on the skin of the fruit are removed before the fruit is eaten[310 ]. The fruit is up to 5cm in diameter[300 ] and is produced in clusters of 3 - 4 fruits[335 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Cosmetic  Hair  Soap

An extract of the fruit is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a hair and skin conditioner[1243 ]. The fruit is used as a hair shampoo[1783 ]. Suitable for Pots.

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Plants can be grown from quite low elevations in the tropics up to an elevation of 2,500 metres or more[300 ]. They do not do well in hot, lowland tropical areas[335 ]. They appear to be tolerant of temperatures up to about 30°c[300 ], but are intolerant of frost[335 ]. They prefer an annual precipitation of around 1,500mm fairly evenly spread through the year since dry periods can lead to a check in growth[300 ]. Plants generally prefer a sunny position, but at lowland elevations they will often benefit from light shade[300 ]. Can succeed in a range of soils so long as they are rich in organic matter[300 ]. Prefers a light, fertile, well-drained soil[335 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7, tolerating 5.8 - 8[418 ]. Grows best in a position sheltered from strong winds[335 ]. Introduced into the Galapagos by settlers, it is considered to be invasive there[305 ]. Seedling plants generally commence fruiting when about 10 - 13 months old[335 ]. Annual yields of 1 - 2 tonnes of fruit per hectare are obtained[310 ]. Plants can flower and fruit all year round[335 ]. The flowers are hermaphrodite and plants are usually self-fertile[335 ]. The plant is susceptible to attack by nematodes and other pests, limiting its cultivation. In recent years its has been hybridized with various species, especially with S. Sessiliflorum, with the result that most plants grown and served in Ecuador comes from this hybrid. The hybrid can be distinguished from the true lulo by the colour of its fruit pulp: pure Solanum quitoense has bright green fruit pulp, whereas the hybrids most often have yellowish or, at most, light greenish fruit pulp[435 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Summer. Bloom Color: White/Near White. Spacing: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow in a seedbed or in containers. Plant out when 10 - 15cm tall[300 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Naranjilla, Quito Orange, Golden Fruit of the Andes, Bed of Nails, Lulos, Toronja, Quito orange, Morelle de quito, Golden fruit of the Andes, Naranjilo, Lulo.

Amazon, Andes*, Asia, Australia, Brazil, Central America, Colombia*, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Hawaii, Mexico, Pacific, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, South America, Tasmania, USA, Venezuela.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Introduced into the Galapagos by settlers, it is considered to be invasive there[305 ].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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