Overview

Distribution

Range Description

From Columbia to northern Peru.
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Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru, especially on western slope, 1500-3000 m.

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Formal Description

Habit

Small tree 1-5 m tall. Stemss glabrous to densely puberulent and often also pilose with curled hairs 2-3 mm long.

Sympodial Structure

Sympodial units 3-foliate.

Leaves

Leaves 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.

Inflorescences

Inflorescences 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.

Flowers

Buds 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.

Fruits

Fruits 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.

Seeds

Seeds 4-5 x 3-3.5 mm, flattened, reticulate and moderately to densely white-puberulent.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
A small tree of Andean forest, occurring especially on the western slopes, between 1,500 and 3,000 m.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

Flowering mainly January through September; fruiting mainly July through November.

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Evolution and Systematics

Systematics or Phylogenetics

Phylogeny

Solanum cajanumense belongs to the Cyphomandra clade of Solanum along with other species traditionally recognized in sections Pachyphylla and Cyphomandropsis (Bohs, in press a). Within the Cyphomandra clade, S. cajanumense is sister to S. fallax in trees based on nuclear ITS sequence data (Bohs, in press b).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Molecular Data

nuclear ITS sequence: GenBank AY523879 (cult. New Zealand; no voucher).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LR/nt
Lower Risk/near threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
1998
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Reviewer/s

Contributor/s

History
  • 1997
    Rare
    (Walter and Gillett 1998)
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Threats

Major Threats
The habitat is seriously threatened by encroaching agriculture and fires.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Common Names and Uses

Local names. Ecuador: pepino (Palacios & Tirado 13040), tomate silvestre (Vivar s.n.). New Zealand: casana (Child, 1986). Uses. The fruits are large, edible, and have a sweet taste. This species is now being cultivated in New Zealand as a possible fruit crop (Bohs, 1989; Child, 1986; G. Pringle, pers. comm.)

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Wikipedia

Solanum cajanumense

Solanum cajanumense (also known as casana) is a species of plant in the Solanaceae family. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

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.

Source


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References and More Information

Commentary

Typical plants of S. cajanumense can be distinguished from other species of Solanum section Pachyphylla by their succulent stems and large coriaceous leaves, their subcoriaceous, stellate, and usually glabrous corollas, their rather broad anther connectives that barely exceed the bases of the anther thecae, their cylindrical styles and truncate stigmas, and their usually pointed fruits with thick woody inflorescence axes. Most collections of S. cajanumense have glandular-puberulent ovaries and young fruits; the hairs apparently break off as the fruits mature. The Hutchison & Bismarck 6528 specimens have noticeably more pubescent fruits than other collections; they may also preserve their pubescence at maturity. Stone cell aggregates can be present or absent in the fruits of this species.

The collections grouped here under S. cajanumense are variable with respect to leaf shape, pubescence, and flower and fruit morphology. The type and other specimens collected around Loja, Ecuador, as well as Hutchison & Bismarck 6528 from Cajamarca, Peru, have ovate leaves with deeply cordate bases. The more northerly collections tend toward ovate to elliptic leaves with truncate or shallowly cordate bases; an exception is Goudot s.n. from Colombia, which has deeply cordate bases. Many representatives of S. cajanumense have abundant pubescence on the foliage and axes in the form of long eglandular hairs or in a few cases very dense tomentum on the leaf undersurfaces. Collections from central Ecuador are nearly glabrous on the leaves and axes.

In S. cajanumense the pedicels and inflorescence axes thicken conspicuously in fruits. Several collections of S. pendulum also have thickened and woody fruiting pedicels, but molecular data do not show a close relationship between the two species.

Solanum viridiflorum Ruiz & Pav. is possibly conspecific with S. cajanumense. Ruiz and Pavón describe and figure this species in their Flora Peruviana (1799) and state that it is allied to S. pendulum, but that it differs from the latter in having unlobed leaves and pubescent fruits. Unfortunately, no specimens of S. viridiflorum could be found and the collection locality of the type material is unknown. Without the type specimens, it is not possible to ascertain whether S. viridiflorum is the same taxon as S. cajanumense.

This species has been cultivated and tried as a fruit crop in New Zealand. The fresh fruits are said to be sweet, and Child (1986) describes their flavor as a mixture of peach and Cape gooseberry. The high elevation preferences of this species may be favorable for its cultivation in temperate climates and the lack of stone cell aggregates in the fruits of some accessions will facilitate processing.

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