A policewoman encouraged me to adopt the strategy “camouflage and deception” whenever I find myself faced with life’s challenges. Not a natural actress, I have been only moderately successful in following her advice, although I hereby pronounce it very sound indeed. Plants and animals are much better at this type of thing of course. As I discovered recently on my balcony. One day I discovered this enormous plant on my balcony. Like Jack’s bean-stalk it seemed to have grown overnight. Trying to figure out whether it was a friend or foe – I looked at the flowers: 5 petals, white, similar in size and pattern to a chili plant, I looked at the leaves – pointy – similar in size and shape to a habanero plant, the flowers grew in groups rather than on single stalks, but there are so many chilies out there I figured, it’s possible it’s a different kind to the ones I have grown before. I was excited when it suddenly grew, I was excited that it grew so much faster than my chilies, so much more powerfully and with so many more flowers. I knew that i hadn’t planted it on my balcony, so I decided, a true optimist, that it must have been “planted” by a bird. To note here: I am based in Switzerland, this is not prime chili growing territory…….
So I have loved the plant and coddled it, given it lots of water and fertilizer. And it grew and it grew:
And then the fruit appeared and it was odd, and the seeds were wrong, and the fruit tasted odd (just a small try, yes I know this is not sensible) – and I have identified the plant as a species of Nightshade – not Atropa Belladonna,but some type of Solanum, looks most like Solanum Americanum, but I am not sure we have that here. The berries, when unripe, have nasty side-effects, it’s a weed and you don’t want to eat it……
Looking for flowers and chili plants online I realised there are few resources where the plant is shown with the flower, the fruit and the leaf and so I thought I’d post some of my plants to help others. The plants named – currently unidentified – are either scorpion chiis, naga morichi, or some other deadly chilies, I plant them and label them and by the time I have repotted them a couple of times I lose the identifier. However, as they all bear fruit at some point, it’s easy to identify them then.
some photos of flowers above and some photos of leaves below: