Plant Oddity – Pumpkin On A Stick

Pumpkin on a Stick

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and more Pumpkins !

If you didn’t get enough with Gourdzillas, the giant pumpkins, let’s visit the other end of the spectrum with tiny pumpkins to celebrate Halloween.

Botanical Interests seed packet for Pumpkin on a Stick

Botanical Interests seed packet for Pumpkin on a Stick

Ornamental or Food?

Falling in the eggplant family, the little pumpkins, Solanum integrifolium, are not really pumpkins, but an ornamental used in stir-fried Asian dishes. I grow this cute ornamental jack-o-lantern for jazzing up my Thanksgiving table and fall flower arrangements as it dries nicely and lasts a long time.

Pumpkin on a Stick harvested

Native to Southeast Asia, it grows 3 to 4 feet tall with very large fuzzy leaves that grow from a purple thorny stem. It towers over other eggplants in my garden and the plant looks remarkably like Bed of Nails or Solanum quitoense, profiled in Plant Geek Alert.

 

Solanum quitoense

Solanum quitoense or Bed of Nails

Culture

Around for over 125 years which makes it an official heirloom vegetable, it has also been called Pumpkin Tree and Pumpkin Bush. Planted directly in full sun in your garden, the plant needs steady moisture and benefits from regular fertilizing as it grows large fast. Pretty soon, the insignificant blooms appear, followed by pale green nubby fruit that turn into their final pumpkin ribbed shape a few weeks later. Insects like to gnaw on the leaves as you can see but deer and rabbits leave it alone because of the wicked thorns.

Pumpkin on a stick

Pumpkin on a stick

In late summer, the fruit changes to a scarlet color and when frosts start to hit, the eggplants turn their final rich orange color. You can harvest up to a dozen pumpkins on one plant. When you pick a stem of pumpkins, remove the leaves and use in an arrangement as is. The fruit will dry on the stem. Use in cooking as an eggplant substitute.

Pumpkin on a stick in floral arrangement, from http://dodgetheflorist.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html

Pumpkin on a stick in floral arrangement, from http://dodgetheflorist.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html

Seen at a florist wholesaler, the stalks include some green immature pumpkins

Seen at a florist wholesaler, the stalks include some green immature pumpkins

 

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
This entry was posted in Garden Oddities, gardening, plant profile and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Plant Oddity – Pumpkin On A Stick

  1. eroomword says:

    I did not know they were eggplant or edible! I learn something every day!

    Like

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