naranjilla, large tropical subshrub (Solanum quitoense) of the family Solanaceae (nightshade family), native to the Andes. Tomatolike fruits, orange-colored and leathery-skinned, grow along the large main stalk, sometimes 10 ft (21.3 m) high. Their juicy, flavorful, slightly acid pulp is much used locally for beverages and sherbets. The naranjillo, or lulo, became known to North Americans as a beverage at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Naranjillo is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Polemoniales, family Solanaceae.

Solanum quitoense, known as naranjilla ([na.ɾan.ˈxi.ʎa], "little orange") in Ecuador and as lulo ([ˈlu.lo], from Quechua) in Colombia, is a subtropical perennial plant from northwestern South America. The scientific name means "nightshade from Quito".

The naranjilla plant is attractive, with large heart-shaped leaves up to 30cm in length. 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. Its USDA/NRCS symbol is SOQU.

The fruit have a citrus flavour, sometimes described as a combination of rhubarb and lime. The juice of the naranjillas is green and is often used as a beverage. The naranjilla fruit is harvested when fully ripe to avoid the fruit becoming sour.


This plant has been described under a number of junior synonyms:

  • Solanum angulatum Ruiz & Pav.
  • Solanum macrocarpon Molina (non L.: preoccupied)
  • Solanum macrocarpon Pav. ex Dunal in DC. (nomen nudum, preoccupied)
  • Solanum nollanum Britton
  • Solanum quitense Kunth
  • Solanum quitoense f. septentrionale (R.E.Schult. & Cuatrec.) D'Arcy
  • Solanum quitoense var. septentrionale R.E.Schult. & Cuatrec.



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