Abstract: Research was undertaken to gain a preliminary understanding of the horticultural potential of Solanum centrale L. (bush tomato) in central Australia to support the unpredictable supply of wild-harvested product. Specifically, the effects of irrigation (1L/h, 2L/h and 3L/h) and of weed competition (presence, absence) on the performance/yield of three geographic varieties of bush tomato (sourced from Amberlindum, Napperby and Utopia) were evaluated. Yield of plants irrigated at 2L/h was greater than those at 1L/h but did not differ from those irrigated at 3L/h, suggesting that there is a threshold at which irrigation is optimal. While there was considerable variability in form and yield of the three different cultivars, there was no statistical difference between the three varieties of bush tomato in terms of yield under varying rates of irrigation. Unsurprisingly, weed competition had a significant effect on yield of bush tomato, with plants growing with weeds having 15% of the yield of those grown in the absence of weeds. These results suggest that the potential for bush tomato production on a commercial scale requires several follow-up questions that need investigation. Significant questions that need to be addressed prior to horticultural production include careful characterisation of bush tomato genotypes, understanding the interactions of these genotypes with the production environments (i.e. phenotypic plasticity), the development of sustainable production systems (e.g. optimal irrigation rates, mechanical harvesting) and the integration of horticultural production goals with the goals of Aboriginal economic development.
Ellis, G., Oliver, G., Vincent, A., Raghu, S., 2010, The effect of irrigation and weed competition on yield of a commercial scale Solanum centrale (Bush Tomato) production system: a preliminary investigation, Volume:74, Report, viewed 09 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=5621.