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An evergreen perennial plant native to South Africa, Senecio macroglossus (Flowering Ivy) is a vigorous and low-growing groundcover that, when given a support, can grow up to two feet in height. It is important to distinguish between the two distinct types of growth for this plant: those that grow on the ground and those that climb.
This perennial is a pleasant addition to any garden, featuring green, glossy leaves on long, trailing stems. In full sun it does best and in partial shade, it is also quite successful. Senecio macroglossus is not particularly fussy about water requirements and depends on the environment, generally preferring regular but light irrigation, although it can tolerate moderate water and occasional dry conditions when grown in pots.
Aside from its attractive foliage, the plant also boasts a dazzling display of yellow, orange daisy-like flowers which add a stunning splash of color to any garden. It typically flowers in the late spring/early summer, but can bloom throughout the year in tropical climates. It also makes a beautiful hanging basket.
When growing Senecio macroglossus in cold regions, it is important to pot it up and bring it indoors during the colder months to ensure it survives. The plant must be well-drained, so adding some extra drainage material to the pot is recommended. Gardening gloves are also a must, as some parts of the Senecio macroglossus can be irritating to the skin.
Its bright and vibrant look make the Senecio macroglossus an attractive addition to any garden: from balconies and patios to a more expansive outdoor space. With its bright yellow daisy-like flowers and glossy foliage, this charming plant can create a tropical look and feel to any outdoor area.
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!
The fruit's juices can be irritating to the touch.
An evergreen tree growing to 10-15 ft by 10-12 ft at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. The plant is self-fertile: the scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. Tree Tomato performs best at medium to high elevations. It is more popular in the Asiatic Tropics, New Zealand, and the Andean region of South America than in the Caribbean region. Trunk diameter is about 4 inches (10 cm). The large cordate-ovate leaves have a pungent smell. Plants have a shallow spreading root system and resent surface hoeing, they are best given a good mulch. The small, pinkish, fragrant flowers are produced in April or May in short axillary cymes near the ends of the branches. 2-3" fruit is eaten raw or cooked. The flavor can vary considerably from tree to tree, the best forms are juicy and sub-acid, they are eaten out of hand, added to salads, used in preserves, jams, jellies etc. The mature fruits resemble a hen's egg in size and shape and, in the West Indies, ripen from October to January. The 2-carpeled fruits are orange, red, or purple, depending on the variety. Internally the fruit consists of a meaty mesocarp and tomato like seeds imbedded in a watery pulp. In flavor it is subacid and is generally considered to resemble the garden tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). The fruit is most commonly stewed to form a conserve. Unlike the garden tomato, the seeds and skin of the tree tomato should be removed before cooking. The unripe fruit is slightly toxic. The seedlings grow rapidly and generally produce the second year.
A perennial woody shrub, can be shaped into a small standard tree. Leaves are 1-2", dark green and shiny/glossy, come in unequal pairs: one is large and elliptic, the other small and rounded. The drooping white flowers have five recurved petals and stamens with large yellow anthers. The flowers are pollinated by wasps, bees, and flies-the vibration of the wings causes the anthers to release the pollen. The many-seeded berries ripen to yellow-orange. They are very sweet and juicy. The fruit attract sweet-loving insects and birds. Birds eat the berries and are the primary dispersers of the seeds.
This plant is listed as poisonous (like many plants of Solanaceae Family), so it is unknown if the fruit is harmless to humans.
It is cultivated in China and Taiwan as an ornamental and for hedges. Can become invasive in favorable conditions.