Whether you call it litchi tomato or vila-vila, its not a tomato but it is related. The prickly perennial (grown here as annual) produces red fruit that taste a bit like a seedy cross between cherry and a tomato.
They are also mildly frost tolerant. That's right, a solanum that doesn't melt at the first touch of ice. A problem if you live somewhere with mild winters but just fine here. It also repels potato eelworm/nemotode in the soil. The large white to bluish flowers bloom all season offering a late nectar source for the bumbles.
There has been some selection but a lot more work could be done. Imagine a world of vila-vila diversity: ones with huge fruit, one orange with stripes, different flavours and even those that enhance their ornamental flowers. As it is, I belong to a group that is hoping to find a spineless mutant. See Friends of Vila-vila (Solanum sisymbriifolium) on Facebook to join. Though I have to say, a little part of me would be sad to loose the spines.
All about growing, selecting and using edible plants in the Ottawa valley.