Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendt
Fruit and cross section

Tomato Tree- Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendt from the University of Florida pdf

Tamarillo (Tomato Tree) from the Twelve Fruits with Potential Value-Added and Culinary Uses from the University of Hawaii

Tree Tomato from Julia Morton's book Fruits of Warm Climates

Tamarillo from the California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.

The Tree Tomato from W. Popenoe's book Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The Tree Tomato or 'Tamarillo' from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia

Brazenly Beautiful Tamarillo from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia





Fig. 1


Other Information


Family: Solanaceae

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

Distant Affinity: Tomato (Lycopersicon lycopsersicum), Mexican Husk Tomato, Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa), Cape Gooseberry

(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
Height: 6-10'
Plant habit: perennial herbaceous shrub
Growth rate: fast
Longevity: life of a commercial plantation is about 8 years
Leaf: evergreen; heart-shaped; hairy; 5"
Flower: androgynous; small, pinkish, fragrant; several times a year
Fruit: 2-3"; oval; smooth; long stemmed; red skin; many small seeds; mature 60-90 days after flowering; produce their fruit on

current season's growth
Season: could grow all year round
Light requirement: sun; will not grow in the shade
Soil tolerances: fertile; good drainage
PH preference: 6.5-7.5
Drought tolerance: not tolerant

Wind tolerance: protection from wind is necessary as the tree is shallow-rooted and easily blown over
Cold tolerance: frost tender
Flood tolerance: not tolerant
Salt tolerance: unknown
Plant spacing: 5- 6' in windy locations; 8-10'
Roots: shallow root system
Pest/disease resistance: generally regarded as fairly pest-resistant.
Known hazards: unripe fruit is slightly toxic; juice stains badly



Flowers Flower cluster Flower
Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4
6 month old tamarillo seedlings Unripe fruit Fruit habit Ripe tamarillo
Fig. 5 Fig. 6 Fig. 7 Fig. 8
Tamarillo fruit hanging from the bush Fruit
Fig. 9 Fig. 10
Fruit Longitidunal section Cross-sections
Fig. 11 Fig. 12 Fig. 13


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

Varieties: 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 variety.
Yellow fruits are considered best for preserving because of their superior flavor. 2


Cyphomandra betacea trees Leaves and flowers Habit Tree tomatoes- a typical crop in the Andes in Ecuador
Fig. 14 Fig. 15 Fig. 16 Fig. 17


Propagation: Seeds or cuttings may be used for propagation. Seeds produce a high-branched, erect tree, ideal for sheltered locations.
Cuttings develop into a shorter, bushy plant with low-lying branches, suitable for exposed, windy sites. The tree does not always come true from seed, but is most likely to if one is careful to take seed from red fruits with black seed pulp or yellow fruits with yellow seed pulp. 2

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.
Annual pruning thereafter is advisable to eliminate branches that have already fruited and induce ample new shoots close to the main branches, inasmuch as fruit is produced on new growth. Otherwise, the tree will develop a broad top with fruits only on the outer fringe. And wide-spreading branches are subject to wind damage. 2

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


Tomato Tree Tree tomatoes, Ecuador
Fig. 18 Fig. 19


Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Miers
Fig. 20



Further Reading

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, KurtCyphomandra 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 Davidals6 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 CillasCyphomandra 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 EkemTree 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

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