Two new nightshade plants have been discovered in Florida and are the first ever to be commercially grown in the United States, according to Florida State University plant ecologist John Smith.
“It’s the first plant of its kind,” Smith said.
“The plants are pretty small, about a foot tall, and we found them in the Florida Keys, a place we’ve only ever found cucumbers.”
Smith said the plants have no leaves, and they were found at a farm that had been producing cucumbers and other vegetables for the past few years.
The two plants were discovered by an avid gardener, and the gardener contacted Smith to tell him the plants were new.
Smith said he’s not sure if the plants are related to nightshades that grow in parts of Mexico, but the species he found was different.
“There are different varieties of nightshaded cucumbers, some are in Florida, some in Texas, and some in Florida’s central and eastern parts,” Smith explained.
“These are really, really good plants for me.”
Smith has already been working on the plants, and said they are very well-suited for growing in Florida.
“They’re very fast growing, and very good at growing in an area where they’re getting lots of sunshine and lots of moisture,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to trying to make them a big commercial crop.
We’re already having fun with the genetics of the plants and they’ll be very easy to grow in a greenhouse.”