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Pepino (Solanum muricatum) is a herbaceous plant that belongs to solanaceae
family.  S. muricatum is a
tropical species of temperate mountain and coastal climate. It requires an
annual precipitation of between 500 and 800 mm. The plant is native to the
Andean regions of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru where it is also cultivated and
consumed (Heiser, 1964). The original cultivation of S. muricatum extended along
the Andes, from southern Colombia to Bolivia and the Peruvian coast.  It was later introduced into Mexico and Central
America, where it was known as S. guatemalense. Pepino plants propagated
vegetatively grow quickly and begin to flower four or five months after sowing.
Plants propagated by seed take longer to develop. In principle, it is a
perennial plant, but it is usually cultivated as an annual (Jordan et al. 1993). Pepino growers only
benefit from two fruiting seasons, since fruit yield and quality subsequently
diminish. The pepino fruits comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and
qualities(Prohens, Ruiz, & Nuez, 1996). The pepino
plants have a very branching habit with Simple or pinnate leaves. The
inflorescence is sub terminal with few flowers. The flowers are pentamerous,
the calyx persists on the fruit and the actinomorphous corolla is 2 cm in
diameter and blue in colour with white margins. The stamens are shorter than
the corolla; the anthers are yellow, connivent and dehiscent through apical
pores. The style emerges slightly in between the anthers. The fruit is ovoid,
conical to sub spherical, and it may be with or without seeds. Inside they are
somewhat watery and pleasantly flavored, but normally not over-sweet (Anonymous
1989). Pepino fruits are, at their best, somewhat sweet and juicy and are used
as a dessert fruit. At present, pepino remains a little-known crop which is
currently unexplored and underexploited (Anonymous 1989). Pepino is already
being grown under modern and controlled conditions in countries like Chile, New
Zealand and Carlifornia (Cornejo et al.
1990), but not on a large scale. The international markets (Europe, Japan, and
the United States) have been opening in recent years (Anonymous 1989).

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