Solanum aculeatissimum, better known as Cockroach berry, is a small shrub native to South America. It produces a bear-like fruit with a tasty orange pulp, but the spiny or thorny nature of the leaves and stems make it quite an irritating plant to handle. But this small shrub of 2-5 feet in size is an ethnomedical plant, and it's also a fast-growing one at that.
When it comes to growing and caring for this plant, you only need to provide it full sun and moderate water, although they are surprisingly frost-tolerant. The additional advantage is that Cockroach berry is a low-maintenance and drought-resistant species, needing no extra or special care. It will also perform best in USDA Zone 9 - 11, but can be grown in colder climates if grown in a pot and provided with a bit of extra protection.
If you're living in areas where heavy rainfall is a common occurrence, be careful when planting this small shrub as it's known to be quite invasive. Due to its easy-to-spread nature, it's important to control it before it starts to overtake. Additionally, you'll need gloves on when handling these prickly plants, and it is recommended to wear thick clothing to protect your skin from its spines.
Overall, Solanum aculeatissimum is an interesting plant to grow, and due to its native status and invasive nature, it can be useful to both gardeners and households alike. Whether you grow it in the landscape or in a pot, it is sure to make a statement but just be sure to keep it in check and use gloves when handling!