This interesting plant is a new variety for us this year in our garden. I almost gave up hope on this strange plant. The pumpkin on a stick is actually a variety of Eggplant. Its says that it is an "ornamental" variety but according to the seed packet "the bitter tasting fruits are used in Asian cooking."
I started this plant indoors at the beginning of March and just now, the first week in October, are we harvesting the first orange fruits. That's 6-7 months! So needless to say, it's slow growing and slow to bear fruit. But all that time was well worth the mystery of this variety.
Though beautiful, it's not a very nice plant. I drew blood three times picking these fruit. The green leaves are veined in deep purple and along these lines are very, very sharp purple thorns. I tried gloves which proved to be a hindrance because the thorns would catch on the fabric and stab me through. Even my rubber coated ones. Perhaps a heavier, smooth rubber glove (like the shiny ones) might have worked better.
I resulted to trimming back the thorny leaves to expose the fruit and slowly but carefully snipped the mini pumpkins.
The rest I plant to harvest with the branches in tact and add them to Autumn arrangements. I might snap the leaves off to remove the thorns with them. The fruits are still turning the pumpkin color and with a good spell of cold weather, it should further deepen the orange color.