Cyphomandra betacea Tree tomato, Tamarillo, Yellow

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Cyphomandra betacaea Tamarillo, Tree Tomato seeds, Yellow fruit


Cyphomandra betacaea is a small plant or shrub, associated with synonyms such as kuntze, Ortega and solanum betaceum. The plant belongs to the genus solanum and the family of solanaceae. It is also associated with other common names such as Cape tomato, Tree tomato, and Tamarillo. The plant originates from the forests of Argentina and Andes of Peru but has been distributed to subtropical areas globally. The areas include places like Darjeeing in India, Rwanda, Hong Kong, South Africa, China, United States and many more.

Cyphomandra betaceais is an evergreen small to medium size woody plant that grows to a height of about 2-3 metres. The stem is brittle bearing short leaves, and usually has a lifespan of about 12-15 years.

The plant has a single upright trunk which contains lateral branches and grey bark. Large, perennial and simple leaves characterise it with the sharply strong smell. Its flowers are pink-white and it combines to create clusters of 10-50 flowers. Each cluster produces 1 to 6 fruits. It has shallow roots which make it hard to tolerate strong winds as well as drought stress. Cyphomandara betacaea fruit is unique with an egg shape of about 4 to 10 cm long and 3 to 5 cm wide. It produces fruits that vary from yellow, red to orange. The seeds are very small, hard and flat.

The plant is believed to have a variety of uses that every human can associate with ranging from food, medicine and tannin to ornamental values. The fruit flesh is edible. The flesh can also be used for breakfast dish when cooled and sugared lightly. The fleshy fruit can also be used as a source of butter to bread and other snacks. Cyphomandra betacaea fruit was also used traditionally to combat and anaemia and other respiratory diseases. Its shoots can also be added to children baths to prevent illness. When tanning industries want to decolor hides, unripe fruits of Cyphomandra betacaea can be a substitute for other sources of tanning. The plant can also be planted as an ornamental tree in homesteads, gardens and public parks.

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