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Transylvanian Porcupine Zombie Tomato Solanum Pyracathum Seeds
Packet of 20+ seeds of this very spiky angry looking bastard!
I’m a big fan of Solanum, and a very big fan of this one in particular.
If you like the look of spiny spiky plants, are a fan of cacti, or just want something very rare, then this fella may be right up your alley.
It has quite large purple flowers that form in bunches, followed by cherry tomato sized, clear golden tinged fruit.
Unlike the Edible Naranjilla Fruit this one has very poisonous fruit and though they do look pretty they are definitely NOT FOOD!
I did a heap of research but couldn’t fine any information about the exact chemical composition.
I assume tropane alkaloids and the Solanine levels must be high like in green potatoes and Kangaroo Apple, but there must be other things at work too?
What I can tell you is that we had a few dramas with imported pest rats chewing their way into the greenhouse and running amuck during the recent dry.
As soon as the dam dried out completely they all headed to my greenhouse for moisture and food.
That stopped completely once these guys fruited.
As far as I can tell after destroying pretty much all my rare valuable plants, and chewing the stems, ring barking everything else, ~dozen ripe fruit were taken away and eaten by them.
Two nights later 3 or 4 more immature fruit were nibbled while still green but left on the plants, and the combination must have rolled them as we haven’t seen even one live one since then.
I did find two huge dead ones in the grass outside about a week later, but I found them by smell so it’s hard to say 100% for sure what killed them but my strong suspicion is this fella…
Wasn’t planned, but I definitely didn’t lose any sleep over it, and now I have a big healthy plant at each end of the greenhouse at all times, just in case the destructive little buggers ever return.
The main attractive feature is the large leaves covered in massive orange tipped spines and everything about it screams “I’m Very Poisonous, Don’t Touch!!”
I originally got it in trade as Transylvanian Tomato and was told it was used as a poison and in magic rituals from that region.
I have also seen it sold overseas Porcupine Tomato and it is known as Solanum pyracanthos, Solanum runcinatum, Solanum pyracantha and Solanum haematocarpum.
In the US and parts of Europe it is marketed as a “Zombie plant” because of its aggressive looks, and the fact it dies off in cold weather and frost, only to return again when conditions improve.
Makes a great intruder proof hedge in warm climates and provided you cut off the flower bunches as they fade it makes the plants bush out nicely and prevents seeds forming at the same time.
If allowed to mature the seeds dry in the fruit, and the fruit remain attached to the plant so if they drop it’s only around the mother plants meaning lower weed potential than many other related species.
Growing them is easy, but PLEASE pay attention folks!
This is a very undomesticated, wild Solanum species.
That gives it great a germination % of pretty much 80-100% every single time.
BUT, it also means the time it takes varies greatly dependent on your local weather and climatic conditions.
The germination will often be staggered and erratic as this is a survival mechanism of the plant.
You may plant them and have the whole lot come up in a week. Happened more than once with me.
You may plant them and have one pop every week. The most common situation in my experience.
You may plant them and have a couple come up now, then nothing for 6months, then the rest all come up then, normally just after a frost or heavy rain.
You may plant them and think you failed and a full year later they all come up for no real reason you can see.
That has happened to me too, but after more than 7years of growing this species I have never ever had a batch of seeds fail to germinate, eventually.
That said I can not predict germination times with this guy, but I can say with a sandy well draining soil in full or partial sun, in a warm climate, they should come up at about ~90% eventually.
As to when, I’ve got no idea so not much point asking me.
I can tell you that Gibberellic Acid-3 lowers the % a lot, down to about ~60%, but it speeds up and standardizes the germination time a lot too.
Generally it takes 1-5weeks with a 500-1000ppm GA3 soak before planting, but again it is still variable and dependent on local conditions.
That’s everything I know folks, but if you have any more information about this species, especially about traditional uses or exact chemical composition I would love to hear from you.
Shoot me a message via the contact form which is at the top of every page on the website(double checking your email address is correct before sending).