April 14, 2018

Qing Qi (Solanum septemlobum)

Qing Qi, Seven-lobed Nightshade - Solanum septemlobum - this is frost hardy perennial, climbing shrub to about 3 (5) meters (10-17 ft) tall, native to eastern Asia (China, Russia).  It belongs to "Ducamaroid clade" of genus Solanum.
In northern areas (as my zone 6b) the (half-)woody shoots are killed by frost in winter but plant re-sprouts in spring from base. It has small lobed leaves, lovely purple and yellow flowers and red inedible fruits. Very ornamental, exotic-looking climber. It reminds Solanum seaforthianum (Brazilian Nightshade) in an appearance, but it is much more frost hardy. It is also edible plant – the cooked leaves were formerly eaten as famine food in China. I think that they should be boiled in changed water to remove toxins. The fruits are probably inedible or toxic.
Propagation: It can be difficult to propagating. Seeds germinate very slowly and erratic, gradually (often after a few months since sowing date) and very fast are losing its viability. The soaking of the seeds in GA3 (2000 ppm by 24 hours) or sowing fresh, never-dried seeds (just after removing from fruits) can a little increase a germinating rate. I tried store fresh seeds in moist sand in fridge but they germinated still in small rare and slowly (after a few months of cold stratification). I am not sure, but near my older plant have started to appear young plants, so maybe it creates root suckers (I think that they are not seedlings because I havest almost all fruits every year to collecting the seeds). It is self-compatible (one plant is enough to fruits creating).
The seedling
The leaves are deeply lobed
Young fruits
The plant in flowers
This plant can be quite large and grows fast
First ripe fruits and last flowers

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