A plant of tree tomato
Synonym: Solanum betaceum
Other names: Dutch eggplant, tamarillo, terong Belanda, tomate de árbol.
Tree tomato is a native to the Andes of Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia. It is grown in several countries in various parts of the world e.g. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, the United States, Venezuela, Portugal, Indonesia etc. However, its organized commercial cultivation for international trade has been taken up in New Zealand. The name “tamarillo” was also given there. It is also cultivated in Portugal for international trade.
A small, half-woody, attractive, fast-growing, evergreen brittle tree; shallow-rooted; reaching 10 to 18 ft (3-5.5 m) in height; rarely as much as 25 ft (7.5 m).
Leaves alternate, nearly cordate at the base, ovate, pointed at the apex, 10-35 cm long, 4-12 cm broad, thin, softly hairy, with conspicuous coarse veins, muskily odorous.
Flowers borne in small, loose clusters near the branch tips, fragrant, 1.25-2 cm wide, having 5 pale-pink or lavender, pointed lobes, 5 prominent yellow stamens, and green-purple calyx.
Fruit smooth, egg-shaped but pointed at both ends and capped with the persistent conical calyx, long-stalked, pendent, borne singly, or in clusters of 3 to 12, 5-10 cm long and 4-5 cm in wide; skin color may be solid deep-purple, blood-red, orange or yellow, or red-and-yellow, occasionally with faint dark, longitudinal stripes; flesh color varies accordingly from orange-red or orange to yellow or cream-yellow.
Skin somewhat tough and unpleasant in flavor, outer layer of flesh slightly firm, succulent and bland, and the pulp surrounding the seeds in the two lengthwise compartments is soft, juicy, and subacid to sweet; it is black in dark-purple and red fruits, yellow in yellow and orange fruits.
Seeds thin, nearly flat, circular, larger and harder than those of the true tomato and distinctly bitter.
The fruit has a slightly resinous aroma and the flavor suggests a mild or under ripe tomato with a faintly resinous aftertaste.
The fruit is eaten raw as well as for the juice, preserves, jellies, and as a vegetable, either cooked or raw in salads.
In Colombia and Ecuador, fresh fruits are frequently blended together with water and sugar to make a juice. It is also available as a commercially pasteurized purée.
Tree tomato is an extremely fast growing shrub to 20ft. Flowers are self-pollinating, and tree tomatoes may bear from seed in just over a year.
For right growth and fruiting, besides rich soil, this plant also requires lots of water and good drainage. Standing water will kill the plant in just a few days.
tomato is also excellent container plant in cold climates.