Naranjilla Facts

Naranjilla is a spreading, herbaceous shrub to 8 ft. (2.5 m) high with thick stems that become somewhat woody with age; spiny in the wild, spineless in cultivated plants and is native to Andean countries of Columbia and Ecuador. The leaves and stems of the plant are covered in short purple hairs. Naranjilla are delicate plants and must be protected from strong winds and direct sunlight. They grow best in partial shade. The fruit has a citrus flavor, sometimes described as a combination of rhubarb and lime. The juice of the naranjilla is green and is often used as a juice or for a drink called lulada.

Name Naranjilla
Scientific Name Solanum quitoense
Native Indigenous to the Andean countries of Columbia and Ecuador
Common/English Name Lulo, Naranjilla, Quito-Orange, obando, cocona, or nuqui
Name in Other Languages Columbia : Lulo
Swedish : Naranjilla
French : Morelle De Quito
Spanish : Lulo
German : Quito-Nachtschatten
Ecuador : Naranjilla
Plant Growth Habit Erect, spreading herbaceous perennial
Growing Climate Intolerant of full sun exposure but favors semi-shade and wind protected areas.
Soil Does best in well-drained rich organic soil but will also grow on poor, stony soils, calcareous soils and on scarified limestone. It must have good drainage.
Plant Size 8 ft. (2.5 m) high
Stem Thick, lignescent, pubescent (with purple stellate trichomes) stem, prickly in the wild, unarmed in cultivated plant.
Leaf Alternate leaves are oblong-ovate, to 2 ft (60 cm) long and 18 in (45 cm) wide, soft and woolly. There may be few or many spines on petioles, midrib and lateral veins, above and below, or the leaves may be completely spineless. About 1 1/5 in (3 cm) wide, have 5 petals, white on the upper surface, purple hairy beneath, and 5 prominent yellow stamens. The unopened buds are likewise covered with purple hairs.
Flower Fragrant, pentamerous, strongly andromonoecious in short axillary inflorescence of 1–20 flowers. Staminate flowers abundant in distal produced inflorescences. Calyx broadly campanulate with 5 ovate to broadly ovate lobes, persistent; corolla with 5 ovate-lanceolate, white petals, purple pubescent beneath, stamens with 5 yellow anthers; ovary globose, 4-loculed, densely pubescent with a cylindrical straight style and capitates stigma.
Fruit Shape & Size 1–4 per inflorescence, globose, round or round-ovate, to 2 1/2 in (6.25 cm) across and contains 4 compartments separated by membranous partitions and filled with translucent green or yellowish, very juicy, slightly acid to acid, pulp of delicious flavor which has been likened to pineapple-and-lemon.
Fruit Color Brownish-green turning to orange when ripe
Fruit Skin Smooth leathery, thick peel
Flesh Color Light yellow-orange with a large ring of juicy green pulp and small, thin seeds.
Flavor/Aroma Citrus flavor,
Taste Citrusy, resemble a cross between a pineapple and a lemon
Seed Numerous, small, lenticular, flat, minutely pitted, buff-colored, 2.5–3.5 mm diameter
Major Nutrition Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 17.5 µg (14.58%)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1.74 mg (10.88%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.128 mg (9.85%)
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.9 mg (6.00%)
Carbohydrate 7.08 g (5.45%)
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.264 mg (5.28%)
Iron, Fe 0.42 mg (5.25%)
Potassium, K 240 mg (5.11%)
Vitamin A, RAE 34 µg (4.86%)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.054 mg (4.50%)
Health Benefits
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Digestive Health
  • Cholesterol and Heart Health
  • Vision Health
  • Immune System Benefits
  • Circulation
  • Detoxify Your Body
  • Bone Strength
Calories in 1 cup (120 gm) 30 K cal