Wonderberry seeds

Wonderberry seeds

Small, dark purple fruit closely resembling the highly poisonous nightshade. The ripe fruits don’t taste like much, but when cooked with sugar, have a pleasant berry flavor that is usually used as a flavoring for pies and desserts.

Seed Availability

Seeds are now available at our seed store.

Description

Very small shrub, usually growing to only 12-24″. The wonderberry can fruit at just 3-4″ high.

Hardiness

Not frost hardy. Grow as an annual. Sunset Zones: All zones USDA: All zones

Growing Environment

The plants are exceedingly easy to grow and care is similar to the tomato, except that wonderberries tend to be less picky about temperature and water, and generally fruit much faster. Can be grown in full or part sun outdoors, or in a sunny window. Sow seeds directly in the ground during summer, or start inside. Germination is best when soil temperatures are above 70F. Keep the soil damp and repot as needed; wonderberry plants need little attention to flower and fruit. See also: garden huckleberry.

Propagation

By seed. May fruit in just 2-3 months.

Cooked and used as a flavoring for various desserts. The unripe (green) berries are poisonous.

Native Range

The wonderberry is a man-made cross between Solanum villosum and S. guineense, produced in the early 20th century by renowned plant breeder Luther Burbank. It closely resembles the wild garden huckleberry, and adding to the confusion, this common name is often used to describe the wonderberry as well. However, the flavor of the wonderberry is far superior to that of the garden huckleberry.

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Related Species

Solanaceae
Acnistus arborescens
Wild Tobacco
Brugmansia arborea
Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia aurea
Golden Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia candida
White Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia sanguinea
Red Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia suaveolens
Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia versicolor
Orange Angel’s Trumpet
Capsicum caballeroi
Capsicum caballeroi
Capsicum exile
Cobincho Pepper
Capsicum eximium
Capsicum eximium
Capsicum flexuosum
Capsicum flexuosum
Capsicum galapagoense
Galapagos Island Pepper
Capsicum praetermissum
Cumari
Capsicum rhomboideum
Capsicum rhomboideum
Cyphomandra abutiloides
Dwarf Tamarillo
Cyphomandra betacea
Tree Tomato
Datura inoxia
Thorn Apple
Datura metel
Double Purple Datura
Iochroma australe (Acnistus australis)
Mini Angel’s Trumpet
Iochroma cyaneum
Violet Churcu
Iochroma fuchsioides
Red Iochroma
Iochroma grandiflora
Giant Iochroma
Jaltomata procumbens
Jaltomato
Lycopersicon melanocarpa
Lycopersicon melanocarpa
Lycopersicon skorospelka
Lycopersicon skorospelka
Nicotiana glauca
Tree Tobacco
Physalis alkekengi
Chinese Lantern
Physalis angulata
Mullaca
Physalis costomatl
Cotztomatl
Physalis ixocarpa
Tomatillo
Physalis minima
Sunberry
Physalis peruviana
Cape Gooseberry
Physalis pruinosa
Ground Cherry
Solanum aviculare
Kangaroo Apple
Solanum burbankii
Wonderberry
Solanum caripense
Tzimbalo
Solanum chessmanii
Galapagos Island Tomato
Solanum dulcamara
Bittersweet
Solanum hispidum
Giant Devil’s Fig
Solanum lycocarpum
Fruit for Wolves
Solanum macrocarpon
Gbogname
Solanum mammosum
Nipple Fruit
Solanum melanocerasum
Garden Huckleberry
Solanum muricatum
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Solanum pseudolulo
Pseudolulo
Solanum quitoense
Naranjilla
Solanum sessiliflorum
Cocona
Solanum uporo
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Withania somnifera
Ashwagandha

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Wonderberry

3 ft. plants yield dozens of clusters of dark, ¼ in. berries; each cluster holds 8-12 fruits. Unique, huckleberry-like flavor makes for intriguing dessert fillings, jellies, syrups, etc. Green fruits are likely toxic and should not be consumed.

The Wonderberry, also known as the Sunberry, was originally botanically classified Solanum burbankii and today is classified as Solanum retroflexum. The fruit was created by renowned American plant breeder, Luther Burbank over 100 years ago when he crossed Solanum guinense of West Central Africa with Solanum villosum of Chile. Wonderberry bears a close resemblance to the garden huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum) but is, in fact, a separate species. Many of these black colored berries of the Solanum genus are loosely referred to as “black nightshade”, though they should not be confused with “deadly nightshade” Atropa belladonna, which is an entirely different genus.

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Grow like tomatoes, but Wonderberry is more finicky to germinate – tiny seeds need to keep moist for a much longer period. Self sows readily. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting outside after last frost. Space 30 in. apart.