Improvement status: Cultivated material
Seeds per packet: ~40
Germination tested 11/2022: 81%
Life cycle: Annual
This species is apparently native to Africa and Europe, but has naturalized in Australia and parts of North America (including Philadelphia). It is grown primarily for its edible golden-colored berries, which when fully ripe (which is the only safe time to eat them) have a sweet taste reminiscent of ground cherries. Also known as "hairy nightshade," the leaves are purportedly consumed as a nutritious food crop in parts of Africa, but individuals who have never eaten this plant should exercise great caution before attempting to eat the leaves (which may require boiling in a couple changes of water, like pokeweed, or some other treatment). Like the other nightshades, this plant contains alkaloids and other compounds that can cause adverse reactions in people. Apparently this plant also has medicinal properties, but we again recommend using serious caution when exploring its medicinal uses. These seeds were grown by EFN in Minnesota.
GROWING TIPS: Start plants indoors and transplant outside after danger of last frost. Seeds may be a little slow to germinate, but they'll come. Plants bush out and can stand erect on their own. It's possible a trellis will help them, but doesn't seem necessary from our experience. Plants should be 20-24 inches apart.