Solanum pimpinellifolium, commonly known as the Currant Tomato, is a wild species of tomato native to Ecuador and Peru. It is an original wild tomato type, hardier and more disease resistant than any other varieties, and a common choice for grafting.
I was lucky to pick up a small seedling of this plant from a Share & Swap table a couple of months ago. Thank you, Elaine! I was told the seeds have a slightly thicker seed coat and can take up to 3 weeks, and sometimes longer to sprout. So many people have since asked me why I would want to grow such small tomatoes. What can I say? Having grown tomatoes every summer for the last 6 years, the words ‘hardy’ and ‘disease resistant’ made it totally irresistible.
The plant grows like a weed once established. In our backyard, it grew to 1.5 metres tall and just as wide within 2 months of planting as a small seedling. Staking is a must if you want to keep it from invading your garden. I planted the seedling within a 1.5 metre high wire cylinder with a 35 cms diameter and a mesh wide enough to reach into. I have had to prune the sides on a couple of occasions to maintain access to the other raised beds.
This rare plant bears masses of small, sweet, red fruits, which ripen over a long period in midsummer. There is no need to remove the side shoots unless you want to grow more plants. I removed a dozen side shoots to take to the next neighbourhood Swap & Share. I dipped the tips in honey and planted them in potting mix, adding coir to the mix to hold moisture. They showed no signs of transplant stress and all the cuttings grew roots.
The fruit is tiny. Here it is in my right hand with cherry Roma tomatoes on the left. It is a great tasting tomato, really sweet with nearly twice the natural sugar content of regular tomatoes. I also noticed it showed no signs of stress in high 30C temperatures and doesn’t complain if I forget to water it. If there is such a thing as the perfect tomato, methinks this is it. More information and seeds: Tomato Worlds Smallest Solanum Pimpinellifolium