Pumpkin Tree

Q: Can you tell me anything about these miniature “pumpkins”?

A stalk of these was in a flower arrangement last fall, I kept them and planted this spring. The leaves have several thorns along the central spine, on top and underneath.

The seeds inside look like jalapeno pepper seeds. Are they edible?

A: Interesting plant! I can tell by the flowers that it isn’t a pumpkin!

I’m not sure if it is Solanum integrifolium or Solanum aethiopictum. Both are known as pumpkin tree. Solanum integrifolium is more closely related to eggplant and is edible but I’m not sure about the other.

It’s probably better to be safe and not eat it…the Solanum family has some poisonous members. It includes tomatoes and potatoes but also jimson weed, of cowboy movie fame.

Enjoy the intriguing appearance of the “pumpkins”. You can save the seeds after the fruit ripens each fall and plant them outdoors in late April, just like you would do with other vegetable seed.

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