The Golden Fruit of the Andes
A rare and unusual fruit now finding its way onto the Australian market is what is commonly called ‘The Golden Fruit of the Andes’. The botanical name is Solanum quitoense, and it is grown for the rounded orange fruits which produce a very tasty juice.
Also sometimes commonly called Naranjilla, beware are their are two varieties, one which is spineless, and another that has very sharp spines.
You could grow it for the fruit, or perhaps just for the large, tropical looking foliage.
Be aware, this is plant that requires a warm wet summer to thrive, and fruit can take 6 months to form and ripen. The plants do not handle frosts very well, and the varieties that produce the thorns are really only suited to a real enthusiast.
In all but the warmest regions we would grow this plant in a container in a warm protected position. The foliage itself is attractive and you might like to grow it simply as a foliage plant.
It does require a humus rich soil, and although it comes from a tropical to sub tropical region, it does grow at altitudes, it is best grown in part shade, especially in areas with the potential of very hot summers, so a temperature between 17 and 20 C is ideal.
Propagation is from seed as well as from cuttings and artel layering.
Plants will fruit in winter to summer depending on the climate.
The juice is simply squeezed from ripe fruit. The flesh can be used for ice cream making as well as for a range of desert type dishes.