Definitions

solanum nigrum guineese

Solanum nigrum

Solanum nigrum (European Black Nightshade or locally just "black nightshade", Duscle, Garden Nightshade, Hound's Berry, Petty Morel, Small-fruited black nightshade or popolo) is a species in the Solanum genus, native to Eurasia and introduced in the Americas and Australasia.

Description

Black nightshade is a fairly common plant, found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats. It has a height of 30-120 cm (12-48"), leaves 4-7.5 cm (1 1/2-3") long; ovate to heart-shaped, with wavy or large-toothed edges.

The flowers have petals greenish to whitish, recurved when aged and surround prominent bright yellow anthers.

The fruits are oval black berries in small hanging clusters. The ripe black small fruit are directly consumable and the leaves are cooked and consumed.

Toxicity

The green berries and mature leaves contain glycoalkaloids and are poisonous to eat raw. Their toxicity varies and there are some strains which have edible berries when fully ripe.

Although fatal human poisonings are rare, at least one case has been documented. The poison is believed to be solanine.

Culinary usage

In India, the berries are casually grown and eaten; but not cultivated for commercial use. In Tamil, the berries are called மணத்தக்காளி - manathakkaali, or "fragrant tomato". Not very popular in many areas, this fruit and dish are common in Northern Tamil Nadu, Southern Andhra & Southern Karnataka.

In Ethiopia, the ripe berries are picked and eaten by children in normal times, while during famines all affected people would eat berries. In addition the leaves are collected by women and children, who cook the leaves in salty water and consumed like any other vegetable. Farmers in the Konso Special Woreda report that because S. nigrum matures before the maize is ready for harvesting, it is used as a food source until their crops are ready.

Medicinal usage

The plant has a long history of medicinal usage, dating back to ancient Greece.

References

There are also orange colored fruits.(by V.T.)

External links

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