Solanum aethiopicum - L.
Common Name Mock Tomato, Ethiopian nightshade
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many if not all the members have poisonous leaves and sometimes also the unripe fruits.
Habitats Not known
Range The original range is uncertain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full sun

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Solanum aethiopicum Mock Tomato, Ethiopian nightshade
Solanum aethiopicum Mock Tomato, Ethiopian nightshade
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Solanum aethiopicum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - cooked when fully ripe[1, 2, 46, 105]. It can be used like aubergine (Solanum melongena) as a vegetable or as a flavouring for other foods[183]. We have only grown this plant once, the fruits were not at all pleasant, with a distinct bitterness[K]. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter[200]. The very young leaves are said to be edible when cooked[177] though they are bitter[183]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils when growing in a sunny position[1]. Cultivated for its edible fruit in northern and central Africa[61], there are some named varieties[183]. This species is not cold-hardy in Britain though it can be grown as an annual, flowering and fruiting in its first year from seed[K]. Slugs really love the young plants and will totally destroy them if given half a chance[K].
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Consider giving some protection, such as a cloche, until the plants are growing away strongly[K].
Other Names
African scarlet eggplant, Azoko, Ethiopian eggplant, Garden egg, Gilo, Golden apple, Impwa, Kumba, Losuke, Love apple, Mock tomato, Nakasuga, Nakati, Ngogwe, Osun, Ruffed tomato, Tokalu, african aubergine, aubergine amère, bitter tomato, chinese scarlet eggplant, ethiopian eggplant, ethiopian nightshade, garden eggs, gilo, granadillo, jilo, kumba, meloncillo de olor, meloncillo del campo, mock plant, mock tomato, pocotillo, quillo, revienta caballo, röd aubergin, scarlet eggplant, shum, silverleaf nightshade, tomato-fruit eggplant, tutía enano.
Found In
Africa, Angola, Asia, Australia, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo DR, Congo R, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, East Africa, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Europe, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, North Africa, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Southern Africa, South America*, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Solanum ajanhuiriAjanhuiri20
Solanum americanumAmerican Nightshade, American black nightshade10
Solanum andigenumAndigena20
Solanum aviculareKangaroo Apple, New Zealand nightshade22
Solanum boreale 10
Solanum boyacense 10
Solanum cari 10
Solanum carolinenseHorse Nettle, Carolina horsenettle02
Solanum chauchaChaucha10
Solanum curtilobumRucki20
Solanum dulcamaraBittersweet. Bittersweet Nightshade, Climbing nightshade, Bittersweet, Deadly Nightshade, Poisonous03
Solanum fendleriWild Potato, Fendler's horsenettle, Texan horsenettle32
Solanum jamesiiColorado Wild Potato, Wild potato20
Solanum juzepczukiiRucki20
Solanum kurzii 10
Solanum laciniatumKangaroo Apple22
Solanum linearifoliumMountain Kangaroo Apple20
Solanum liximitante 10
Solanum luteum 10
Solanum lycopersicumTomato, Garden Tomato53
Solanum lyratum 12
Solanum maglia 20
Solanum melongenaAubergine, Eggplant32
Solanum muricatumPepino40
Solanum nigrumBlack Nightshade, Common Nightshade, Poisonberry, Black Nightshade22
Solanum paniculatumJurubeba, Nightshade04
Solanum phurejaPhureja, Nightshade30
Solanum piliferum 20
Solanum pimpinellifoliumCurrant Tomato42


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Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
Readers comment
Ian Keeling   Sat Jul 8 2006
Earlier this year I bought "aubergine" seeds from Thompson & Morgan. Research on the Internet has revealed this to be a variety of Solanum aethiopicum. A variety of this is widely grown in Brazil (apparently it was brought there from Africa with the slave trade). There the fruit is harvested young, long before it becomes ripe. Some consider it at its best when it is still yellow - not even green, let alone red, when it becomes far too bitter for most palates. If I get any edible fruit from my plants I'll add my personal experience of it.
Aberra Molla   Mon Jan 15 2007 Scientific and common names of some Ethiopian plants.

Rashidah Mubiru   Wed Nov 25 2009
solanum production in uganda and its varieties
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Subject : Solanum aethiopicum  

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