Updated: Jan 7, 2020
The eggplant, Solanum melongena and Solanum aethiopicum, is part of the Solanaceae family
The genus Solanum includes about 1700 known species.
Most Solanacees, among them the cultivated Solanum (S. Quitoense, S Muricatum) come from the South American continent.
On the other hand, S. Melongena, S. Aethiopicum, and S. Macrocarpon come directly from the African continent.
The other Solanum species which originate from the American continent are considered by taxonomists, as phylogenetically more distant from cultivated eggplants than Solanum species from the Other World (Africa mainly and to a lesser extent Asia and Australia.
Numerous studies have been established that the wild species which could be the ancestor of S. Melongena is native to the regions of West Africa.
Genetic sources include varieties of S. Melongena cultivated in different parts of the world (primary pool) as well as related species, cultivated or wild (secondary pool) that can be sexually or somatically hybridized with cultivated forms. These resources have their own particularities.
S. Melongena can be hybridized with the two African cultivated species S. Aethiopicum, and S. Macrocarpon which means that it is possible to transfer the characteristics of these two species into S. Melongena.
Pitrat, M. and Faury, C. (2003). Histoires de légumes : des origines à l'orée du XXIe siècle. pp.253, 262.
Solanum melongena ‘Black Enorma’ is an early cropping F1 variety.
The term F1 comes from the field of genetics in which it generally designates the first generation of descendants of a cross.
Therefore, the F1 vegetable varieties are above all a hybrid variety. By hybrid, it means a variety that has been experimentally designed and comes from the cross between two parents with interesting characteristics.
Can you give an example; imagine two tomato plants from different lines, a first plant giving a host of fruits but of rather poor taste, and a second producing very few fruits but with delicious taste.
We will cross them to obtain a productive variety with a very good taste. The reality is a little more complex but the principle of F1 is there.
Thus by this principle we can therefore end up with fast growing varieties, resistant to diseases, parasites, very productive ...
What I need you to know is many of the modern large-fruited varieties which are dark purple/ long thick black-skinned are F1 hybrid strains,raised from two inbred lines to produce hybrid vigour. The large number of seeds in each fruits make hand-pollination economic.
All those varieties are hybrids F1
This was a general presentation on the diversity of the Solanaceae family, knowing that you have some wild and local varieties in India as well as the Solanum melongena var. insanum where it grows on dry hills. It is very prickly and has fruits which are yellow when ripe and very bitter to taste.
I hope this article will give you a general idea of what kind of eggplants we as humans can eat. There are so many varieties that I did not list.
Uses and nutritional values of the African aubergine :
Depending on the variety,leaves and young fruits are eaten cooked as vegetables. The
leaves are eaten separately or come into the composition of sauces with other ingredients. Their taste is more or less bitter and much appreciated. Leaves, fruits and roots have a wide variety of uses medicinal. Indeed, we chew the heated leaves to treat throat problems. Fruits are used as laxative or to treat cardiovascular disease and we chew both flowers and fruits to clean the teeth. We consume the juice of boiled roots to removing hookworms and crushed leaves are used to fight stomach-ache. The leaves of the great nightshade contains four times more protein than the carrot, 7 times more Calcium and two more iron than cabbage.
Eggplant benefit :
Lower bad Cholesterol Absorption
Protects Heart and Arteries
Assist with stomach ulcers
Assist nerve conditions
High Fiber content
Low in Calories