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Observing Nature: Pimentero or forest tomato

Pimentero o tomate silvestre

Scientific name: ‘Solanum lidii’                                      

Common name: Pimentero o tomate silvestre

Family: ‘Solanaceae’     

Genus: Solanum

Endemic to: Los Marteles Special Nature Reserve, Gran Canaria

Other locations: Viera & Clavijo Botanical Gardens

Description: Plant species considered in danger of extinction in the National Catalogue of Species under Threat and in need of a recovery plan.

It is endemic to Gran Canaria with six populations on the southern slopes of the island, located in the Barranco de Temisas at an altitude of 650m, the Lomo de la Cruz to the east of Teisas, in Barranco Hondo, the massif of Amurgas and Las Fortalezas de Ansite, Gallegos, Riscos del Sao, at altitudes of 375m, and in Valle de Tirajana at 600 metres. All these locations can be found within Los Marteles Special Nature Reserve.

It is shrub found on cliffs and in dry ravines, and is also locally known as the forest tomato as its small fruit resemble tomatoes, they are not edible though. It has an ornamental value for gardening and for phytochemicals. It flowers from spring to summer and the fruit appears in the summer. The species was first discovered in the 1970’s and current populations have between six and fifty specimens. The main threats to its existence are herbivores, hunters, human interference and the instability of the land where it grows. The species is also cultivated in Viera & Clavijo Botanical Gardens.

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