Solanum crispum is also called the Chilean potato vine or Chilean potato-tree or often just potato vine. It belongs to the same genus as the potato (Solanum tuberosum). The flowers resemble potato flowers. Solanum crispum is a South American, perennial, semi-evergreen, woody-stemmed climbing plant that has blue flowers 2.5 cm in diameter with a yellow ovary, producing very small poisonous purple berries in autumn. The berries start out green, then yellow-orange. The leaves are oval. It grows wild in Chile and Peru.
Solanum crispum as a garden plant
Solanum crispum is also cultivated as a garden plant. The British Royal Horticultural Society gave Solanum crispum the Award of Garden Merit. The plant is fast growing and has a long flowering period, typically from June till the autumn. The plant can start to flower in May carry on till September or even October. The flowers are fragrant.
Solanum crispum grows well in soils that are moist and well drained. The soil should be neutral or a bit alkaline, see Soil pH. The University of Cambridge considers Solanum crispum hardy, though others think it should be protected from frost. In areas where the plant is tender planting it against a south or west facing fence or wall is recommended. The plant needs support but can reach 15 or 20 feet, (5 or 7 metres). It grows best in the sun and should be given plenty of sunny space if it is to reach its potential. It can be cut back to keep it within bounds.
There is a white form known as "album". A popular form is, "Solanum crispum Glasnevin", which flowers freely and is hardy.
Photographs: growing against a wall in a garden in the Ards Peninsula, Co Down.
BBC Gardening, from the BBC
University of Cambridge, Gardening Services Section
Solanum crispum, ( Autumnale )
The Garden of the Department of Botany
Blue Potato Vine; aka, Climbing Chilean Potato Tree
Berries portrait of Solanum crispum glasnerium Blue Potato Vine (This Web site may underestimate the toxicity of Deadly Nightshade)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Solanum crispum