|fruit of S. pseudocapsicum|
fruit of S. pseudocapsicum
The Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) is a plant belonging to the same family as deadly nightshade, whose fruit are also poisonous. These perennials can be grown decoratively as a house plant, but in some areas of Australia the plant has become a weed.
The plant is perennial in zones up to USDA 8. Native to Peru, they can survive frosts and cold weather. They generally live up to 10 years, producing fruit usually in their 2nd or 3rd year, and every year after that. Their fruit is extremely similar to cherry tomatoes (as they share the same genus with tomatoes) in taste and texture, and are therefore easily confused with them. S. pseudocapsicum's poison is primarily solanocapsine, which is similar to other alkaloids found in their genus, such as solanine and atropine. Although the toxin is poisonous, it is generally not life threatening. It may cause gastric problems, including vomiting and gastroenteritis.
Spoerke, D. G., Smolinske, S. C. 1990. Toxicity of houseplants. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 335 pp.