Is it a tough tomato or a plucky eggplant? You decide.
Imagine, if you can, a fierce tomato, poised to slash the hand of any would-be fruit.
Can't go there? Try for an eggplant with fuzzy leaves, each leaf sporting a row of long, neon orange spines along the mid-rib. Top and bottom of each leaf. No, I haven't been eating psychedelic brownies. And the vision, while it may sound like the stuff of a gardener's nightmare, is not at all made up. It is a new feature in the Curators' Garden at Dunn.
I'm not making this up. Monique Reed saw it too. And Glenn Withey confirmed that the fantastic, down-the-rabbit-hole looking plant is real and named Solanum Pyracanthum. A little googling tells me it's also known as Porcupine Tomato. Monique and I thought it looked more like an eggplant. Same leaf shape; very similar flower. Wikipedia gives the species a slightly different spelling and describes it as an "evergreen shrub native to tropical Madagascar and the islands of the western Indian Ocean" and notes that it is poisonous. Glenn called it an annual, meaning I am guessing that it's not hardy in the Pacific Northwest. The Daves Garden web site indicates the plant has been said to grow in several California locations and British Columbia. (Really?) The Plant Lust listing for it indicates it is "deer resistant." No kidding.
I asked you to imagine the plant because I haven't yet figured out how to add a photo to our new "private blog." As soon as Christine Hill helps me figure out how to do that, I will put up my own photo – which isn't too bad considering I ignored Mike Siegel's advice and photographed it in the midday sun. Only mad dogs and Englishmen . . .
I will try to embed a link to a photo of the plant. Try clicking on the words "photo of the plant." If that doesn't work, you will have to make a trip back to the garden and find it for yourself!