Hey everyone! Last winter, I got a hold of some seeds labelled as Solanum quitoense, a tomato relative native to Ecuador that I only enjoyed once and have been chasing the flavor ever since. Its common name is Naranjilla in Ecuador and Lulo in Colombia. Everything I've read about it says that it can be grown as a tender annual in temperate climates, but that if you're lucky to get any fruit, it can take 6 months to a year to ripen. I grew it out just for fun, to see if I could get anything out of it. I started the seed indoors in January or February, got the first fruit set in July/August, and now they're starting to ripen!
The seed I got was collected from a weedy plant in Mexico, so I see two possibilities:
1. It's a little known close relative. I feel like I came across a mention of a member of the same section of Solanum (Lasiocarpa) that was native to mexico, but I recall it being called Solanum Chiapense, and that appears to be a synonym for a totally different plant that has since been reclassified under a different genus.
2. It's a quitoense that escaped cultivation and adapted to the variable day length in Mexico.
Either way, it should happily cross with cultivated Naranjilla, and might bring down the flowering/fruiting time.
I also have seed for some close relatives from other parts of the world, but i'll have to look in the fridge to see exactly which species I have.
This is going to be a long project, but in addition to day length sensitivity, or at least short flowering/fruiting time, I want to select for a lack of spines, and a smaller habit.