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Useful Tropical Plants

Solanum americanum

Mill.

Solanaceae

+ Synonyms

Solanum adventitium Polg.

Solanum calvum Bitter

Solanum caribaeum Dunal

Solanum curtipes Bitter

Solanum erythrocarpon G.Mey.

Solanum fauriei H.Lév.

Solanum fistulosum Dunal

Solanum ganchouenense H.Lév.

Solanum gollmeri Bitter

Solanum imerinense Bitter

Solanum inconspicuum Bitter

Solanum indecorum A.Rich.

Solanum inops Dunal

Solanum microtatanthum Bitter

Solanum minutibaccatum Bitter

Solanum oleraceum Dunal

Solanum pachystylum Polg.

Solanum pauciflorum (Liou) H.Y.Zhang

Solanum pentagonocalyx Bitter

Solanum photeinocarpum Nakam. & Odash.

Solanum purpuratum Bitter

Solanum rhinozerothis Blume

Solanum sciaphilum Bitter

Solanum tenellum Bitter

Common Name: American Nightshade

Solanum americanum
Plants growing wild on Midway Atoll, South Beach Sand Island
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Creative Commons License
Solanum americanum Solanum americanum Solanum americanum Solanum americanum Solanum americanum Solanum americanum

General Information

Solanum americanum is an annual or short-lived perennial plant, erect and widely spreading, growing up to 150 cm 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.
].
The plant is used as a vegetable, especially in Africa, where it is often collected from the wild. It is reported as being cultivated in Sierra Leone, the lowlands of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Seychelles and Mauritius. It is a popular wild pot herb in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, and in eastern Zimbabwe and Mozambique the leaves are also eaten as a vegetable[
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

The bitterness of the plant is associated with a high content of the glycoalkaloid solanine, which is found throughout the plant with the highest concentration in the unripe fruits[
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.
]. In the leaves the concentration increases with age. Solanine is poisonous and only partially soluble in water. Eating a large amount of this vegetable has been associated with diarrhoea and cardiac arrest[
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 immature fruit is poisonous[
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
].

Botanical References

43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,266

Range

Possibly originally S. America, but it is widespread through the tropics and subtropics

Habitat

Rocky or dry open woods, thickets, shores or openings, often on cultivated or waste ground in eastern N. America[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]. Waste places, roadsides, fields; at elevations from 100 - 2,000 metres in China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitAnnual/Perennial
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsSelf, Insects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the tropics and subtropics, it can also be cultivated in the temperate zone. It is found at elevations up to 2,000 metres in the tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 35°c, but can tolerate 15 - 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 prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 400 - 1,500mm[
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 sunny position but is tolerant of light shade[
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.
]. Succeeds in most soils[
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]).
]. Leaf production is best in a fertile soil[
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.
].
Plants can escape from cultivation and become a weed[
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 seedlings grow away quickly and can start flowering about two months after germination[
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 plant continues to develop new flowers for several months[
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.
].
Leaves and stem tops are collected from plants in the wild, or from fields during the rainy season. Harvesting is normally done in the early morning. The main shoot or side shoots are plucked before flowering, leaving at least 5 cm of stem for the production of new side shoots. This method allows 6 - 8 times harvests from the same plant[
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.
].
Although no accurate records are available, the yield is probably comparable to that of S. Villosum and S. Tarderemotum since the plant structure and size, and the harvesting method are comparable. The yield can therefore be estimated at 10 - 20 t/ha, but with adequate management up to 50 t/ha would be feasible[
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.
].
Some superior plants are often not harvested but are left for seed production[
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 plant is normally self-pollinating, but cross-pollination is possible by insects, mainly bees and syrphid flies[
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.
].

Edible Uses

Young shoots and leaves - cooked. Depending on the bitterness, the cooking water is sometimes changed during the cooking. This is done especially for children - elderly people often appreciate a higher degree of bitterness and will therefore leave the flowers and young fruits, whereas people who object to the bitter taste remove them. To further reduce the bitterness, the leaves are sometimes served together with cooked amaranth, either separately or as a mixture. In Uganda, the leaves are steamed and the juice is collected and used in soups, so that the nutrients are fully utilized[
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 leaves contain about 6990mg of beta carotene per 100g[
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Fruit - cooked. It should be used only when fully ripe[
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
]. The fruit is a globose berry 4 - 10mm in diameter, becoming glossy purplish black at maturity, rarely dark green, many-seeded[
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.
]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

In most regions, Solanum americanum fruits are considered inedible but Kipsigis children in Kenya eat the ripe fruits and also in the border region between south-eastern Zimbabwe and Mozambique the sweet fruits of local varieties are much appreciated[
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.
].

Medicinal

The plant is antispasmodic and vermifuge[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. A decoction of the whole plant is used as a blood purifier, for treating inflammation, dissipating blood stasis, and to expel worms[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The plant is applied externally as a remedy for cardialgia, corroding ulcers, suppurating cancers, deep wounds, skin diseases such as dartre, and for use in poultices for treating kidney pain[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The leaves are eaten raw to treat heart pains[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
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 cooked leaves are said to have a heart-clearing effect[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].
The juice extracted from the leaves is used to relieve chronic conjunctivitis and related inflammations[
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 pounded leaves are used to treat sores and other skin problems[
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 infusion of the leaves and stems is used to improve kidney function[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

A decoction of the root, mixed with lime juice and a pinch of salt, is drunk as a treatment for malaria[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - can be sown in situ, placing the seeds in pockets of up to 10 seeds at the beginning of the rainy 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.
]. For commercial purposes, seedlings for transplanting are produced in nurseries. The soil is loosened and enriched with decomposed manure in combination with wood ash. The seeds, in most cases mixed with sand or ash, are dispersed evenly over the soil surface or sown in rows and then mulched with grasses to prevent moisture loss from the soil[
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.
]. Transplanting may take place when the seedlings are about 15cm tall, whereby only strong plants should be selected.[
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 recommended spacing in pure stands is 30 cm × 30 cm, which could be reduced to 20 cm × 30 cm 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.
].
The Giriama people in Kenya, however, propagate it by stem cuttings, selecting strong stems with or without leaves at the top for a new planting.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-07-20. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Solanum+americanum>

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