Morelle de Balbis - Litchi Tomato
Solanum sisymbriifolium Lamarck
Solanaceae (Nightshade) Family
Plant is an upright perennial with long spines that are plentiful and very sharp. Its preferred habitat is clearings (especially at roadside), rocky or sandy slopes and tilled soil at the margins of vegetable gardens. This is a highly vigorous, indeterminate plant. Left to its own devices, it will sprawl across the ground in all directions. The base of the stem will be about 1 - 1.5 inches wide when killed by frost. Thus, its root system is protected from cold and wildlife.
The leaves are alternate, simple, petiolate, ovate to eliptic in outline with margins pinately lobed.
The flowers are raceme, bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form. The calyx is lobed; corolla rotate; 5-lobed; white or blue in color; 5 stamens that extend beyond the corolla. Flowers appear in late spring.
Fruit is a bright red berry; edible when ripe, the thorny calyx will peel back (gloves are recommended for harvest). The skin of the ripe fruit has the same "tacky" feel as a ripe cherry, and the predominant flavor is cherry-like, with hints of other flavors. The fruit has its best flavor in the cool days of late Summer.