WONDERBERRY
(Solanum retoflexum)

 

A shrub of wonderberry

 

Family: Solanaceae

Synonyms: Solanum x burbankii

Other names: Garden huckle berry, sunberry

 

Wonderberry, an annual herb, is believed to be a native of South Africa.  From there it spread to Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  With time, it crossed Africa and has not reached Arabia and Australia. In late nineteenth century it also reached Unites States.

               It is a fruit of the size of blueberry.  It tastes sweet and has a characteristic unusual flavor.
 

Wonderberry fruits

               There is one more wonder berry too.  It is grown in USA and had to have been originated as a result of hybridization between Solanum villosum and Solanum guineense carried out by Luther Burbank in early 1900s.

 Description:

A spreading, rounded annual herb, bright green, pubescent with simple hairs; prickles absent.  
 

Leaves of wonderberry

Leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, the lamina 4–8 cm long, 2–5 cm wide, slightly discolorous, lobed; petiole to 4 cm long.
 

Wonderberry flowers

Inflorescence short, 3–6–flowered; peduncle to 13 mm long; pedicels 4–6 mm long. Calyx 2–5.5 mm long; lobes triangular, 1–1.5 mm long. Corolla stellate, 12–14 mm diam., white. Anthers 1.5 mm long.  

Berry globular, 6–9 mm diam., occasionally smaller, dull black.

Seeds 1.8–2 mm long, light brownish-yellow or purple.

Utilization:

Ripe fruits of wonder berry can be eaten out of hand but they do not taste so good.  So these fruits are usually eaten cooked. The berries are, however, quite delicious in pies, syrups when they are cooked and combined with sugar or other sweetener.

            Wonder berry fruits should be eaten only after they are ripe.  The raw fruits are said to be poisonous and may create health problems some time.

Cultivation:

Wonder berry is grown like tomato.  The seeds are sown in seed beds.  These are quick to germinate and become ready for transplanting in about three weeks when these should be transplanted to the main field. 

            It is a short duration crop is over in 4-5 months.

 

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