Know your Aubergines

Know your Aubergines - Introduction

  • The aubergineSolanum melongena, is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum
  • It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. 
  • As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Know your Aubergines - Common names

  • The aubergine is also known as eggplantmelongene or brinjal

Know your Aubergines - Cultivation

  • It is a delicate perennial often cultivated as an annual. 
  • Though perennial in its native Africa and Asia, most gardeners grow it as an annual vegetable. 

Know your Aubergines - Botany

  • A healthy, mature plant has large, fuzzy, green leaves and an upright, bushy habit. 
  • It grows 40 to 150 cm (16 to 57 in) tall, with large coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4–8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2–4 in) broad. 
  • (Semi-)wild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft) with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. 
  • The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. 
  • The fruit is fleshy, less than 3 centimetres (1.2 in) in diameter on wild plants, but much larger in cultivated forms.
  • The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids, unsurprising as it is a close relative of tobacco.