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Toxic parts

The unripe fruit is slightly toxic[1].

Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked[2][3][4]. The flavour can vary considerably from tree to tree, the best forms are juicy and sub-acid, they are eaten out of hand, added to salads, used in preserves, jams, jellies etc[5][6]. The fruit contains about 150 IU vitamin A per 100g, 25mg vitamin C, it is rich in vitamin E and iron but low in carbohydrate[6]. Fruits are 4 - 10cm long and 3 - 5cm wide[6].


Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Cyphomandra betacea.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Cyphomandra betacea.


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates within 4 weeks at 15°c[K], within 2 weeks at 25°c[7]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of greenwood in a frame[1].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Cyphomandra betacea. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in a sunny position in any well-drained soil[6][1]. Prefers a light fertile soil[6]. Dislikes drought[6]. Plants are very prone to wind damage[6]. They fruit best with a temperature range of 16 - 22°c in the growing season[6].

The tree tomato is cultivated for its edible fruit in sub-tropical and tropical zones[3][4], there are some named varieties[5]. It is not winter hardy in Britain, though it can be pot grown outdoors in the summer and brought into a warmer place for the winter[2]. It requires a minimum winter temperature of 10°c for best fruit production but it is hardy to about -2°c[2][6]. Trees produce about 20 kg of fruit a year, yields of 15 - 17 tonnes per hectare are achieved in New Zealand[6]. Plants are probably insensitive to day-length[6]. Very fast growing, it starts to fruit within two years from seed[1] and reaches peak production in 3 - 4 years[6]. Trees are, however, short-lived - the life of a commercial plantation is about 8 years[6]. This species does not hybridize easily with other members of the genus[6]. Plants have a shallow spreading root system and resent surface hoeing, they are best given a good mulch[6]. Plants usually ripe their fruit over a period of time, though pruning methods can be used to produce a peak time of fruiting[6]. The leaves have a pungent smell[6].

Plants are subject to attacks by red spider mites.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Cyphomandra betacea. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Cyphomandra betacea.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Cyphomandra betacea
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    5 x 4 meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    2. ? Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-5531-7 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    6. ? Popenoe. H. et al Lost Crops of the Incas National Academy Press ISBN 0-309-04264-X (1990-00-00)
    7. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)

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