Erect annual herb, 0.2-0.5 m, unarmed, occasionally prickly. Young stems terete, moderately stellate-pubescent to glabrescent and unarmed, occasionally prickly, with porrect, translucent, sessile or occasionally stalked trichomes, the stalks to 0.2 mm long, the rays 8-15, 0.3-0.7 mm long, the midpoints ca. same length as the rays or elongated to 1 mm, with minute simple hairs, the prickles 1-3 mm long, less than 0.5 mm wide at base, straight, acicular, yellow-orange to dark brown, glabrous, spaced 10-50 mm apart; bark of older stems glabrescent, green-brown to dark brown.
Sympodial units difoliate, not geminate.
Leaves simple, the blades 10-23 cm long, 9-15 cm wide, 1.5-2 times longer than wide, ovate, chartaceous, drying discolorous; adaxial surface yellow-green to red-brown, moderately stellate-pubescent to glabrescent; abaxial surface glaucous, moderately stellate-pubescent to glabrescent, with porrect, sessile or stalked trichomes, the stalks to 0.2, the rays 5-8, 0.3-1 mm long, the midpoints ca. same length as the rays, unarmed on both surfaces; the primary veins 4-7 pairs, the tertiary venation visible on both surfaces; base cordate to obtuse; margins lobed, the lobes 2(-3) on each side, 0.5-2 cm long, extending 1/4-1/3 of the distance to the midvein, deltate, apically rounded; apex acute; petiole 1-10 cm long, 1/4-1/3(-2/3) of the leaf blade length, moderately stellate-pubescent to glabrescent, with 0-2 prickles.
Inflorescences apparently terminal or lateral, 6-15 cm long, not branched, with 1-8 flowers, 1-3 flowers open at any one time, moderately stellate-pubescent to glabrescent, unarmed; peduncle 0-80 mm long; pedicels 2-3.5 cm long in long-styled flowers, 0.8-2 cm long in short-styled flowers, erect to pendent, articulated at the base, moderately stellate-pubescent to glabrescent, with 0(-5) prickles; pedicel scars spaced 3-5 mm apart.
Flowers 4-8-merous, heterostylous and the plants andromonoecious, with the lowermost flower long-styled and hermaphrodite, the distal flowers short-styled and staminate. Calyx 10-40 mm long in long-styled flowers, 7-10 mm long in short-styled flowers, moderately stellate-pubescent, with 0(-30) prickles, the lobes 5-17 mm long in long-styled flowers, 3.5-5 mm long in short-styled flowers, deltate to narrow-deltate, apically acute to long-acuminate. Corolla 2.5-5 cm in diameter in long-styled flowers, 2.4-4 cm in diameter in short-styled flowers, white to mauve or purple, stellate, lobed for 1/4-1/2 of the way to the base, the lobes 10-15 mm long, 8-13 mm wide in long-styled flowers, 5-8 mm long and 8-13 mm wide in short-styled flowers, broad-deltate, spreading, not opening fully in long-styled flowers, sparsely stellate-pubescent abaxially, the trichomes porrect, sessile or stalked, the stalks to 0.2 mm, the rays 4-8, 0.2-0.7 mm long, the midpoints ca. same length as the rays. Stamens equal, with the filament tube 2-3 mm long, the free portion of the filaments 1.2-3 mm long; anthers 5.5-7.5 mm long in long-styled flowers, 5.5-6 mm long in short-styled flowers, connivent, tapering, poricidal at the tips. Ovary stellate-pubescent in the upper 1/4; style ca. 0.9 cm long in long-styled flowers, broad and straight, moderately stellate-pubescent in the lower 1/2.
Fruit a globular to ovoid, ellipsoid, or oblong to variously curved berry, 1 per infructescence, 3-20 cm long, 3-7 cm wide, the pericarp smooth, green, sometimes mottled or striped, white, pink, mauve, purple, or black when young, usually white or maroon at maturity, glabrous; fruiting pedicels 2.5-8 cm long, 2-4 mm in diameter at base, woody, pendulous, with 0(-5) prickles; fruiting calyx lobes elongating to 12-50 mm long, 1/4-1/3 the length of the mature fruit, often cup-shaped around the fruit in some cultivars, with 0(-30) prickles.
Seeds ca. 100-200 per berry, 2.9-3.2 mm long, 2.2-2.5 mm wide, flattened-reniform, orange-brown.
Herbs or subshrubs to 60 cm tall, sparingly armed, pubescent with stellate hairs. Stems and branches minutely tomentose, sometimes with stout recurved prickles. Petiole 2-4.5 cm; leaf blade ovate to oblong-ovate, 6-18 × 5-11 cm, stellate-tomentose or sometimes with a few fine prickles on both surfaces, denser abaxially, base oblique, margin sinuate-lobed, apex obtuse. Inflorescences mostly solitary flowers, rarely reduced racemes; peduncle obsolete. Flowers andromonoecious. Pedicel 1-1.8 cm. Calyx stellate tomentose, often with ca. 3 mm prickles abaxially; lobes lanceolate. Corolla purplish or violet, rotate, 3(-5) cm; lobes deltate, ca. 1 cm. Filaments ca. 2.5 mm; anthers ca. 7.5 mm. Style 4-7 mm. Berry black, purple, pink, brown, or yellow, yellowish when completely mature, greatly variable in form and size, mostly more than 6 cm in diam., with a thick, spongy, whitish mesocarp and septal region. Seeds lenticular, yellowish, 2.8-3.9 × 2.5-3.5 mm.
Solanum melongena L., Sp. Pl. 186. 1753.
Hierbas grandes de hasta 60 cm de alto, a menudo armadas; tallos laxamente tomentosos, frecuentemente glabrescentes, los tricomas multiangulados, porrectos, pediculados y sésiles, a menudo escasamente armados de acúleos rectos o recurvados de 212 mm de largo. Hojas solitarias o en pares, ampliamente ovadas, mayormente sinuado-lobadas, hasta 25 cm de largo, ápice agudo u obtuso, base truncada o cordada, frecuentemente desigual, lobos mayormente redondeados, afelpadas, suavemente tomentosas con tricomas multiangulados sésiles; pecíolos hasta 6.5 cm de largo, tomentosos. Inflorescencias racimos abiertos con pocas flores, generalmente sólo una flor perfecta, volviéndose laterales, tomentosos con tricomas como los de los tallos, inermes o a veces aculeados, pedúnculo hasta 2.5 cm de largo, pedicelos 1020 mm de largo; cáliz 812 mm de largo, tomentoso por fuera, lobado 1/3 de su longitud, lobos deltoides; corola 3050 mm de diámetro, azul o purpúrea, levemente lobada, lobos ovados, tomentosos por fuera; anteras ca 6 mm de largo. Baya ovoide o globosa, hasta 40 cm diámetro, glabra, negra, anaranjada o rosada, frecuentemente de varios colores, pedicelos fructíferos engrosados y alargados, péndulos; semillas discoide-lenticulares, ca 4 mm de diámetro.
Cultivada, en todo el país; 100 m; Stevens 23508; fl y fr dic; nativa de Asia. "Berenjena".
Large perennial herb to 60 cm tall; twigs loosely tomentose with whitish, sessile and stalked porrect stellae, sometimes glabrescent, rarely armed. Leaves large, to 25 cm long, ovate, pinnatifid-lobed to subentire, the margin sinuate, apically acute, basally cordate, truncate or narrowed, often dimidiate, above dispersed to densely pubescent with mostly sessile, porrect stellae, beneath more densely pubescent; the petioles to 6 cm long, loosely pubescent. In- florescence a short, few-flowered, sessile or peduncled cincinnus, the first flowers functionally staminate, a few later flowers perfect; pedicels 1-2 cm long, tomentose, sometimes articulating near the base, longer and much stouter in fruit. Flowers with the calyx ca. 12 mm long, lobed about halfway, the lobes lanceolate, tomentose outside, glabrous within except at the tips, accrescent and splitting irregularly in fruit; corolla mauve, 3.5-5 cm across, lobed halfway with short teeth in the lobes; stamens free, the filaments 3-4 mm long, broader at the base, the anthers ca. 6 mm long, stout, dorsally flattened; ovary densely stellate on top, glabrescent, the style densely stellate below, less so above, the stigma of 2-4 small discoid lobes. Fruit very large, to 40 cm long, ellipsoid or ovoid with a thick rind and moist, firm pulp, purple-black (Panama), ultimately turning yellow, rose, green or brown.
Cultivated worldwide in tropical and subtropical areas (in the temperate zone under glass); the greatest diversity of landraces and cultivars is found in Asia (India, China and southeast Asia), with secondary centres in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean.. The origin of Solanum melongena is in Asia, but the exact place of domestication in not clear (see references in Knapp et al. 2013).
Local Names. Eggplant (aubergine) (English). [Africa] Sierra Leone: ponibuji, okpotokpobo (Thomas 4357); kobo kobo, kupe (Thomas 456); kojoi (Mende language, Fisher 91). Ghana: Atropo (Ga language, Hall & Bukenya 47135). Madagascar: Yundahl (Lunt 164). [Asia] China: qie
Uses. The fruit is cooked. The aubergine (eggplant) is the economically most important member of Solanum subgenus Leptostemonum with numerous commercial cultivars adapted to a range of tropical and temperate climates. In global terms 90% of production is concentrated in China, India, Egypt, Turkey, and Japan (Lucier & Jerardo 2006). Cultivars grown in Africa are seldom used by the local population and are mainly consumed by foreign visitors or exported to Europe (Lester et al. 1990).