Jerusalem Cherry Plant (Solanum)

Would anyone out there know the answer to this question ? I can't find any information on the Jerusalem CHerry plant...
1. Who Discovered the Jerusalem Cherry Plant and any info about that? 2. What year was the Jerusalem Cherry plant discovered in? 3. How did this plant get the name "Jerusalem" Cherry, as this plant is native to south america.
Thanks in advanced for anyone that can help me out....
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The Jerusalem Cherry has a few different names, (i.e. Winter Cherry, Christmas Cherry, Madeira Cherry, Cleveland Cherry, and Coral Bush. In French its called, Cerisier de Jerusalem, which means Cherry Tree of Jerusalem. I have seen these names listed for this plant, in old houseplant books and on the internet.
There are two different types (species) of the Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum Pseudocapsicum) and (Solanum Capsicastrum). Very often, they are confused for each other because they basically look the same, especially in cultivation with the many varieties available today. Most flower shops etc, do not label the particular species/variety when you purchase it. The Pseudo-capsicum is normally a larger plant, while the capsicastrum is more compact. But I have seen dwarf varieties of the Pseudo-capsicum. Also there is a Variegated Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum Capsicastrum Variegatum).
This plant dates back to the 1600's & is native to Madeira, Brazil, & Uruguay (I did read on a russian website, that this plant was in cultivation back in 1596). A very early account of this plant, is in a book called, Stirpium Historiae Pemptades, revised edition of the year 1616, by Dutch botanist Rembert Dodoens. Quoted by Linnaeus at a later date, Dodoens describes the plant, speaks of its cultivation, explains its cultivation, explains its name etc. He also mentions that Pseudocapsicum gets its name from its likeness to Capsicum. Books I have read, say the JC plant was a very popular Christmas plant during the Victorian era. You also see this plant in many old house plant books from the 50's 60's & 70's. Today (as of 09-28-04) , the plant is still sold in large numbers, but many places (i.e. Home Depot etc) carry pepper plants instead. Ornamental peppers are easier to grow then the JC plant & ornamental peppers are not poisonous. The Jerusalem Cherry's berries are mildly poisonous, it would be best to keep them away from small children & pets. This South American plant's name derives from its colorful berries. The names Jerusalem Cherry, Christmas Cherry, Winter Cherry, Coral Bush, etc are all associated with this plant, because the plant is usually offered during the Christmas/Holiday season. The name "Jerusalem" in general has been given to many plants, i.e Jerusalem sage,artichoke,oak etc. Another source that I have read, an expert on plant names, said the word Jerusalem, as in other plant names, is to stand for as a vague name for a distant foreign country.
The care for this plant is pretty straight forward. The JC plant needs bright light & a cool room (around 60f) during the winter months. Feed at half strength fert from Jan-May while plant is indoors. In the spring, before I put this plant outdoors, I cut it back almost halfway & then bring it out for the summer. The JC Plant needs to be outside in order for the flowers to be pollinated. Give your JC plant Tomato Fertilizer or Flowering plant Fertilizer from May-Oct (I live in New JERSEY,usa). From Oct-Dec do not fertilize the JC plant, so it may rest. Water the plant well, when the soil starts to slightly dry water well again. The JC plant likes full sun. Some books claim this plant is an annual & to discard after fruiting, but this is wrong. The JC plant is a perennial & can be kept for many years, I have one since 1992. Just watch for whiteflies, they sometimes attack this plant.
Also, there are several varieties of this plant.... NEW PATTERSON.. standered JC plant sold, green leaves, berries are green & turn orange/redish... JOKER..This is dwarf, berries are yellowish, orange & red..... FANCY..This is a small variety.. SNOWFIRE...This has white berries, that turn red.. CHERRY JUBILEE...This has white berries, yellow, then red berries... JUBZILEE..This is another dwarf plant... RED GIANT...This has large berries (looks allot like cherry tomatoes) SNOWSTORM...This is the variegated Jerusalem Cherry.. BALLAD..This is a small variety with whitish green berries, that turn red... Finally CAPITAL...This has green berries that turn red.
I know that a website glasshouseworks.com sells this plant & J&L Hudson Seedsman usually sells this plant, as well as B&T world Seeds. Also StokesSeeds, this company has been around since 1881, this company sells JC seeds. If you ever need some seeds, I usually have some, just zap me an email. Its a great plant to own, and from my experience, most people love it.
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