Solanum atropurpureum| Five Minute Plant ‘Malevolence.
Solanum atropurpureum has some pretty scary, but fitting names, like ‘Malevolence’, ‘Purple Devil’, ‘Malice’, ‘Pentaphyllum’, ‘Purple-Spined Nightshade’, or ‘Five-Minute Plant’, the latter, on account of how long a newcomer will stare at this wondrous beauty, is a semi-evergreen shrub that’s native to Brazil. It has a very aggressive, vicious appearance with its purple-black stems and fiercely sharp thorns that cover every square inch of the plant including the tops and undersides of the deeply-lobed dark-green leaves and the fruits, too. Clusters of small, star-shaped, bright-yellow flowers bloom in summer which transform into small (1–2 cm wide) round inedible fruits that start out creamy white with green veins and finish bright-orange in autumn. The fruits and fresh seeds are extremely sticky to the touch, which may be how it spreads in the wild.
Does best in full sun and is known to grow in a wide variety of soils. Solanum atropurpureum is root hardy to around 25 °F. Acts an annual outside of its hardiness zones, but within its range, plants have a relatively short lifespan of 3-5 years. Plants can grow to 4 ft within 2 years time even when grown in a pot.
The Five Minute Plant is quite the conversation piece in the garden because of its unique features.
Although it is said that the fruit’s juices can be irritating to the touch because they contain various tropane alkaloids in its fruit, stems, and leaves, we did not find that to be the case after harvesting fruits for many hours without gloves on and over many days time. However, it is still recommended that gloves be used when handling the plant, and the fruits are not edible, so should NOT be ingested.
Type: Annual or perennial
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 5 ft
Mature width: 3 ft
Hardiness zones: 9-11