Solanum crispum

17 May

Solanum crispum (01/05/2011, Kensington, London)

Solanum crispum (01/05/2011, Kensington, London)

Position: Full sun

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Late spring to early summer

Eventual Height: 6m

Eventual Spread: 12m

Hardiness: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a

Family: Solanaceae

Solanum crispum is an semi-evergreen climber with a vigorous scrambling habit. It has dark green leaves and bears terminal corymbs composed of lilac to purple-blue flowers. The fruit that follows these is a poisonous, yellowish-white, tomato like fruit

Solanum crispum flower (01/05/2011, Kensington, London)

Solanum crispum flower (01/05/2011, Kensington, London)

Solanum crispum, commonly known as Chilean Potato Vine or Chilean Nightshade, is native to Chile and Peru.

The etymological root of the binomial name Solanum was a name given by Pliny, the Roman naturalist. Crispum is from the Latin meaning ‘curled’ or ‘wrinkled’.

The landscape architect may find Solanum crispum is useful in covering a structure (or wall when properly supported) and it can be used as a screening plant due to its evergreen foliage. Caution should be exercised when locating this plant due to the poisonous nature of its fruit and due to its vigorous nature.

A popular cultivar is Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’; it has much darker flowers that are a beautiful violet blue.

Solanum crispum Leaf (12/09/2015, Walworth, London)

Solanum crispum Leaf (12/09/2015, Walworth, London)

Solanum crispum prefers an alkaline soil composed of sand, clay or chalk. It will also prefer an east or south facing sheltered aspect.

Ecologically, Solanum crispum will attract pollinating insects such as bees that will feed on its nectar.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given the cultivar Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Solanum crispum may require heavy pruning so as to keep a vine like appearance or it will become very bushy. Dead or damaged material should be removed at the end of winter.

Davis Landscape Architecture

 

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