|Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendt
Common names: tomate, tomate extranjero, tomate de arbol, tomate granadilla, granadilla, pix, and caxlan pix (Guatemala); tomate de palo (Honduras); arvore do tomate, tomate de arvore (Brazil); lima tomate, tomate de monte, sima (Bolivia); pepino de arbol (Colombia); tomate dulce (Ecuador); tomate cimarron (Costa Rica); and tomate francés (Venezuela, Brazil). In 1970, or shortly before, the construed name "tamarillo" was adopted in New Zealand and has become the standard commercial designation for the fruit. 2
'Tamarillo' was coined in 1967 and is now internationally accepted - even in South America where the fruit was formerly known as 'Tomate de arbol'. 5
Synomyms: Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendtn.; Cyphomandra crassifolia (Ortega) J.F. Macbr.; Cyphomandra crassifolia (Ortega) Kuntze; Cyphomandra procera Wawra; Pionandra betacea (Cav.) Miers; Solanum betacea Cav.; Solanum crassifolium Ortega; Solanum insigne Lowe 8
Related Species: Casana (Cyphomandra casana), Mountain Tomato (C. crassifolia), Guava Tamarillo (C. fragrans). 3
(P. peruviana), Pepino Dulce (Solanum muricatum), Naranjilla (S. quitoense), Cocona (S. sessiliflorum). 3
Origin: The genus Cyphomandra belongs to the family Solanaceae, which contains about 30 species of soft-wood shrubs that are all natives of Central and South America and the West Indies.The genus Cyphomandra belongs to the family Solanaceae, which contains about 30 species of soft-wood shrubs that are all natives of Central and South America and the West Indies. 4
Most likely introduced from India, where the fruit is well-known, the tamarillo is actually native to the Andean region of South America. It can be found from Venezuela to as far south as Argentina and is a typical fruit of the Andean highlands. 5
USDA hardiness zones: 8-11
current season's growth
Wind tolerance: protection from wind is necessary as the tree is shallow-rooted and easily blown
Fruit: The long-stalked, pendent fruit, borne singly, or in clusters of 3 to 12, is smooth, egg-shaped but pointed at both ends and capped with the persistent conical calyx. In size it ranges from 2 to 4 in (5-10 cm) long and l 1/2 to 2 in (4-5 cm) in width. Skin color may be solid deep-purple, blood-red, orange or yellow, or red-and-yellow, and may have faint dark, longitudinal stripes. Flesh color varies accordingly from orange-red or orange to yellow or cream-yellow. While the skin is somewhat tough and unpleasant in flavor, the outer layer of flesh is slightly firm, succulent and bland, and the pulp surrounding the seeds in the two lengthwise compartments is soft, juicy, subacid to sweet; it is black in dark-purple and red fruits, yellow in yellow and orange fruits. 2
There are apparently no named cultivars, but there are local
preferences according to fruit color. Red fruits are chosen for the
fresh fruit markets because of their appealing color. The dark-red
strain (called "black") now leading in commercial plantings in New
Zealand was obtained by selection around 1920 as a variation from the
yellow and purple types grown up to that time. It was propagated and
reselection thereafter resulted in this large, higher quality, red
Propagation: Seeds or cuttings may be used for propagation. Seeds produce a high-branched, erect tree, ideal for sheltered locations.
Sown from seed, it will rapidly grow into an attractive, shrub-like bushy tree with large, green, pungent-smelling leaves. The plant will start flowering in its second growing season, and the sweet scent of its flowers alone makes it worth having in
the garden. 5
Pruning: Seedling trees are pruned back the first year after planting to a height of 3 or 4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) to encourage branching.
Harvest and uses:
Tamarillos are ready to harvest when they develop the yellow or red
color characteristic of the particular variety. To harvest, simply pull
the fruit from the tree with a snapping motion, leaving the stem
attached. The fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10
weeks, but temperatures below 38° F can cause the skin to discolor.
Ripe tamarillos may be merely cut in half lengthwise, sprinkled with
sugar (and chilled if you like) and served for eating by scooping out
the flesh and pulp. 6
Diseases: The principal disease is powdery mildew (both Erysiphe sp. and Oidium sp.), which may cause serious defoliation if not controlled. Minor problems include Sclerotinia disease (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), the black lesions of which girdle stems and cause terminal wilting; and Ascochyta disease (Ascochyta sp.) which is evidenced by small, round, black, dead areas on leaves, especially mature leaves. Tree tomato mosaic virus causes pale mottling on leaves and sometimes on the fruits which has not been considered a serious disadvantage. Another virus disorder, called "bootlace virus", distorts the leaf, especially on young plants, reducing it to little more than the midrib. Affected plants are pulled up and destroyed. 2
Pests: A major pest on tamarillo is the tomato worm, the larva of the pyraustid moth Neoleucinodes elegantalis that also attacks the ordinary tomato and the pepino. Nematodes are a major problem in some areas. They affect the shallow root system and reduce the vigour and life of the plant. In soils heavily infested with nematodes it is frequently necessary to replant with new seedling material after two or three years. Aphids and white flies are sometimes a problem. 7
Tree tomato (Cyphomandra betacea) from the FAO Corporate Document Repository FAO
All in the Family - The Tamarillo and its Relatives from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
1 Love, Ken. "Twelve Fruits with Potential Value-Added and Culinary Uses." ctahr.hawaii.edu. University of Hawaii at Manoa. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
2 Morton, J. "Tomato Tree". hort.purdue.edu. Fruits of warm climates, p. 437-440. 1987. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
3 "Tamarillo." crfg.org. 1969-1989. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
4 Fletcher, W.A. "The Tree Tomatoa or 'Tamarillo'." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. N.Z. Ministry of Agriculture, "Growing Tamarillos". Nov. 1990. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
5 Endt, Dick. "All in the Family - The Tamarillo and its Relatives." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Extract from Quandong Vol.17 No.3. July 1992. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.
6 "Tamarillo." crfg.org. 1969-1989. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
7 Schroeder, C.A. "Brazenly Beautiful Tamarillo'." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Fruit Gardener (Magazine of the California Rare Fruit Growers) . Nov. 1990. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
8 "Solanum betaceum." tropical.theferns.info. Useful Tropical Plants. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 1 Fibonacci. Red and yellow tamarillos (tree tomatoes). 2008. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 2 Fibonacci. Flower cluster. 2004. commons.wikimedia.org. biolib.de. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 3,14 Stueber, Kurt. Cyphomandra betacea (Solanaceae). 2004. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 4 Culbert, Dick. Solanum betaceum, flower of the Tree Tomato. 2006. flickr.com. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 5 Davidals. 6 months old tamarillo seedlings. 2004. commons.wikimedia.org. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 6,16 Carstor. Habit of Solanum betaceum (Solanaceae). 2007. commons.wikimedia.org. Jena Botanical Garden, Germany. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 7 Stefano. Cyphomandra betacea (Solanum betaceum). 2012. flickr.com. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 8 Bartsch, Michelle. Tamarillo fruit, palm House (also known as tree tomatoes). 2008. flickr.com. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 9 Tapson, Natalie. Tamarillo fruit hanging from the bush. 2010. flickr.com. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 10 Jaitt, Oscar. Tree tomato, Tamarillo. N.d. fruitlovers.com. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 11,12,13 Pfeifer, Janek. Tamarillos (Solanum betaceum). 2005. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 15 Cillas. Cyphomandra betacea. 2008. commons.wikimedia.org. Real Jardin Botanico de madrid. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 17 Brank Ljuba. Tree tomatoes - a typical crop in the Andes in Ecuador. N.d. tropical.theferns.info. Useful Tropical Plants. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 18 Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendt. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 19 Ekem. Tree tomatoes, Ecuador. 2009. commons.wikimedia.org. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
Fig. 20 Smith, M. Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Miers. 1899. plantillustrations.org. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, vol. 125 [ser. 3, vol. 55]: t. 7682. Illustration contributed by: Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, U.S.A.
Published 20 Apr. 2015 LR. Updated 21 Apr. 2015 LR