HabitSmall tree 1-5 m tall. Stemss glabrous to densely puberulent and often also pilose with curled hairs 2-3 mm long.
Sympodial StructureSympodial units 3-foliate.
LeavesLeaves simple, the blades 5-40 x 3.5-40 cm, ca. 1-2 times as long as wide, subcoriaceous, unlobed, ovate to elliptic, glabrous to densely puberulent or moderately pilose adaxially and abaxially, especially on veins, sometimes densely tomentose to villous adaxially and abaxially; base truncate to cordate with basal lobes 0-10 cm long; margin entire; apex acute to acuminate; petioles 2.5-27 cm, glabrous to densely puberulent or pilose with curled eglandular hairs ca. 2 mm long.
InflorescencesInflorescences 3-15 cm, unbranched or branched, with 10-30 flowers, all flowers perfect, the axes glabrous to densely puberulent or pilose with eglandular hairs 2-3 mm long; peduncle 2.5-6 cm; rachis 1-12 cm; pedicels 10-20 mm, 20-50 mm and very corky and woody in fruit, spaced 1-10 mm apart, articulated at or near the base, leaving nearly sessile scars or pedicellar remnants 1-2 mm long.
FlowersBuds ovoid, acute at apex. Flowers with the calyx radius 3-5 mm, the lobes 1-3 x 2.5-3 mm, deltate to oblong, obtuse, apiculate, fleshy, glabrate to sparsely pilose. Corollas 2-3 cm in diameter, the radius 8-19 mm, stellate, subcoriaceous, purple to greenish or whitish, the tube 1-2 mm, the lobes ca. 7-17 x 3-5 mm, narrowly triangular, acute-acuminate at apices, glabrous to sparsely pubescent or tomentose abaxially, especially toward apices, glabrous adaxially, the margin tomentose (rarely ciliate). Anther thecae 5-8 x 2-4 mm, lanceolate, connivent, violet, the pores directed adaxially and distally; connective 5-8 x 1-4 mm, lanceolate, abaxially slightly shorter than thecae at apex, about equal to or slightly exceeding them at base, adaxially absent or present as a small swelling at base, yellow, orange, or brownish. Ovary glabrous or glandular-puberulent; style 6-10 x 0.5-1 mm, exserted 1-2 mm beyond stamens, cylindrical, glabrous or sparsely puberulent; stigma truncate.
FruitsFruits 4.5-10 x 2.5-4.5 cm, ellipsoidal, acute or obtuse at apex, yellow when mature, darker stripes present when immature, glabrous to moderately puberulent, especially when young; stone cell aggregates present or absent.
SeedsSeeds 4-5 x 3-3.5 mm, flattened, reticulate and moderately to densely white-puberulent.
Habitat and Ecology
Life History and Behavior
Evolution and Systematics
Systematics or Phylogenetics
Molecular Biology and Genetics
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- Needs updating
- 1997Rare(Walter and Gillett 1998)
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Common Names and Uses
Intolerant of heat, frost, or direct sunlight, Solanum cajanumense seems to prefer cloud forest-type growing conditions, which limits its future agricultural potential. As with most solanaceae, most parts of the plant are toxic, but casana produces an edible, yellow fruit similar in appearance to, but smaller than the closely related tamarillo.
An attempt at commercial cultivation was made in New Zealand in the 1980s, though an overall lack of selective breeding, the unpredictability of fruit flavor (usually very sweet, but sometimes sour or bitter), the somewhat delicate nature of this shade-loving plant, and an attractiveness to pests like aphids, white flies and spider mites all caused those domestication efforts to fail. On rare occasions, it is encountered as a dooryard fruit tree.
- World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998. Solanum cajanumense. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 August 2007.
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References and More Information