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Useful Tropical Plants

Solanum aethiopicum

L.

Solanaceae

+ Synonyms

Lycopersicon aethiopicum (L.) Mill.

Pseudocapsicum torulosum Moench

Solanum ambrosiacum Vell.

Solanum aurantiacum Sendtn.

Solanum brieyi De Wild.

Solanum elskensii De Wild.

Solanum geminifolium Thonn.

Solanum gilo Raddi

Solanum giorgii De Wild.

Solanum hybridum Jacq.

Solanum integrifolium Poir.

Solanum kupperi Markgr.

Solanum lobelii Ten.

Solanum lusitanicum Dunal

Solanum monteiroi C.H.Wright

Solanum naumannii Engl.

Solanum obtusifolium Willd.

Solanum olivare Pailleux & Bois

Solanum ovatifolium De Wild.

Solanum paaschenianum H.J.P.Winkl.

Solanum pierreanum Paill. & Bois

Solanum poggei Dammer

Solanum pseudomelongena Ten.

Solanum scabrum Jacq.

Solanum scabrum Zuccagni

Solanum schroederi Dammer

Solanum sparsespinosum De Wild.

Solanum subsessile De Wild.

Solanum sudanense Hammerst.

Solanum texanum Dunal

Solanum willdenowii Roem. & Schult.

Solanum worsleyi W.Watson

Solanum zuccagnianum Dunal

Common Name: Mock Tomato

Solanum aethiopicum
Evaluation trial of various entries of African eggplant in Senegal
Photograph by: GlobalHort Image Library/ Imagetheque
Creative Commons License
Solanum aethiopicum Solanum aethiopicum Solanum aethiopicum Solanum aethiopicum Solanum aethiopicum Solanum aethiopicum

General Information

Solanum aethiopicum is a very variable plant; often grown as an annual, it is generally a perennial plant with stems that become more or less woody and persist. It forms a much branched, deciduous plant thar can grow up to 2.5 metres tall. The branches and leaves can be with or without prickles[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Mock tomato is one of the most commonly cultivated vegetable fruits in Tropical Africa, and has also been introduced into Brazil via the slave trade[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It is grown commercially and in home gardens and is commonly sold in local markets. The plant has been derived in cultivation from the wild Solanum anguivi Lam., via the semi-domesticated Solanum distichum Schumach. & Thonn., both of which are found throughout tropical Africa. The plant is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most plants in the family Solanaceae also contain poisonous alkaloids. Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.

Range

The original range is uncertain.

Habitat

A plant of cultivation, it is not known in a truly wild situation.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height2.50 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist tropics, it can also be grown as an annual crop in the temperate zone as long as it can be given a growing season of at least 4 months. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 40°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It is not tolerant of frosts[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 1,600mm, but tolerates 800 - 4,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most moderately fertile, well-drained soils when growing in a sunny position[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. A soil too rich in nitrogen will encourage leaf growth at the expense of flowering, and so will reduce the yield of fruit[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4.3 - 8.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Young plants grow rapidly and flowering starts from 40 - 100 days after sowing. As the first flowers are initiated, branching and subsequent production of smaller leaves occurs[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Growth and flowering may continue indefinitely, but are suppressed once sufficient fruits have set[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The preferred weight for fruits of Gilo Group and Kumba Group is 30 - 40g. One plant may produce from 500 g to about 8 kg of fruits, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Without irrigation, yields are 5 - 8 t/ha, and with irrigation 12 - 20 t/ha. Improved cultivars grown under favourable conditions may yield 50 - 80 t/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Fruits of Kumba Group have mean weights of 70 - 120 g, sometimes even over 200 g; yield is 10 - 20 t/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Under good management, farmers growing cultivars of Shum Group can get up to 75 leaf bundles of 30 kg each per 100 m2. This means that the crop has a yield potential of 225 t/ha. The average leaf yield during the dry season for a once-over harvest, however, is only 30 t/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
This is a food crop that is difficult to characterize as a whole, with a great plasticity and grown in a variety of habitats ranging from dry rocky outcrops and grasslands to forests[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
]. Because of their morphological diversity, various cultivars of S. Aethiopicum have previously been described as many different species, and have been confused with S. Incanum and other species. Four cultivar-groups are now recognised, as follows:-
S. Aethiopicum Gilo Group. The fruits, which are like hens' eggs or many other shapes and sizes, and scarlet when ripe, are eaten unripe, cooked in stews or even raw[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Plants in this group thrive in full sun in woodland savannah on fairly deep and well-drained soils with pH 5.5 - 6.8, and in temperatures of 25 - 35°c during the day and 20 - 27°c at night[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
S. Aethiopicum Shum Group. Grown in tropical Africa, especially in Cameroon and Uganda. The glabrous small-leaved shoots are cooked as spinach. This group thrives under warm, humid conditions and will drop their leaves when it gets dry. In Uganda they are grown in drying swamps during the dry season[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
S. Aethiopicum Kumba Group. Grown in sub-Sahelian W Africa, especially Senegal, in the wet season. The large glabrous leaves are cooked as spinach: subsequently the large, sweet, ribbed fruits are eaten raw or cooked in stews[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. This group thrives in very hot conditions, with temperatures up to 45°c during the day and air humidity sometimes as low as 20%, especially if they are irrigated[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
S. Aethiopicum Aculeatum Group. These prickly ornamental plants with attractive but very bitter scarlet fruits possess some disease resistance so they are used for breeding and as rootstocks for S. Melongena in Japan[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
There are some named varieties in in Shum and Gilo groups[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
The bitter and small-fruited, prickly and hairy ancestor, S. Anguivi occurs throughout tropical Africa[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
Slugs really love the young plants and will totally destroy them if given half a chance[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It can be cooked when immature or when fully ripe[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It can be used like aubergine (Solanum melongena) as a vegetable or as a flavouring for other foods[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. We have only grown this plant once, the fruits were not at all pleasant, with a distinct bitterness[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The large fruits of cultivar-groups Gilo and Kumba are cooked in stews or even eaten raw[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The orange-red fruit is about 25mm in diameter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Leaves and young shoots[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The very young leaves are said to be edible when cooked[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
] though they have a bitter flavour[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Cooked as a spinach[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The young shoots are stripped of their numerous flowers and buds, and then finely cut for use in soups[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal

The roots and fruits are used as a carminative and sedative, and to treat colic and high blood pressure[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
].

The crushed and macerated fruits are used as an enema[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The leaf juice is used as a sedative to treat uterine complaints[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. An extract of the leaves in alcohol is used as a sedative, anti-emetic and to treat tetanus after an abortion[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

Some cultivars (Aculeatum Group) are occasionally used as a rootstock for tomato and eggplant[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in a sunny position in a sandy soil in a nursery seedbed or in containers. Germination takes 5 - 9 days for the Gilo and Shum Groups, but only 3 - 5 days for the Kumba Group, although the latter may show seed dormancy and tends to have few seeds per fruit[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Seedlings can be transplanted to the field after 30 - 35 days, when they have 5 - 7 leaves and are 15 - 20cm tall[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-12-08. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Solanum+aethiopicum>

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