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Solanum grossedentatum A.Rich.

Protologue
Tent. fl. abyss. 2 : 101 (1850).
Family
Solanaceae
Synonyms
Solanum memphyticum C.C.Gmel. var. abyssinicum (Dunal) Cuf. (1963).
Origin and geographic distribution
Solanum grossedentatum is poorly known. It is thought to be native in Africa, occurring from Cameroon east to Ethiopia and Somalia, and south to South Africa.
Uses
The leaves of Solanum grossedentatum are collected from the wild and used as a cooked vegetable. The fruits are eaten by children. In Kenya it is said to be grown together with maize, and the leaves are sold on local markets.
Properties
No nutritional composition is known for Solanum grossedentatum leaves, but it is probably comparable to related African nightshades such as Solanum scabrum Mill.
Botany
Erect to decumbent, annual or short-lived perennial herb up to 120 cm tall, often succulent, usually villose with red-brown glandular and shorter non-glandular hairs. Leaves arranged spirally, simple; petiole about as long as blade, winged; blade ovate-lanceolate, 3–7 cm × 2–4 cm, margin dentate to incised. Inflorescence a simple umbellate cyme, 3–4-flowered. Flowers bisexual, usually 5-merous; pedicel reflexed in fruit; calyx stellate, adherent to fruit; corolla rotate, c. 1 cm in diameter, white with greenish basal star. Fruit a globose berry 7–9 mm in diameter, black when mature.
Solanum grossedentatum belongs to the subgenus Solanum and section Solanum, together with other vegetable species such as Solanum americanum Mill., Solanum scabrum Mill. and Solanum villosum Mill. Research is still needed to better understand the species within section Solanum and their diversity. In Africa the name Solanum nigrum is often used for almost all species of section Solanum with blackish fruits. Most probably Solanum retroflexum Dunal is identical to Solanum grossedentatum, but more research is needed. Solanum retroflexum is a tetraploid (2n = 48), occurring throughout tropical Africa and introduced in North America and Australia. Its leaves are rarely eaten as a vegetable, but it has edible ripe fruits. Its indumentum is villose and consists of non-glandular hairs.
Ecology
Solanum grossedentatum occurs in montane secondary scrub vegetation, often growing as a weed, at 800–3000 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Solanum grossedentatum is widespread and not in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
Solanum grossedentatum will remain a minor vegetable. A taxonomic revision of the section to which it belongs is badly needed.
Major references
• Bukenya, Z.R. & Carasco, J.F., 1995. Solanum (Solanaceae) in Uganda. Bothalia 25(1): 43–59.
• Burkill, H.M., 2000. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Families S–Z, Addenda. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 686 pp.
• Edmonds, J.M. & Chweya, J.A., 1997. Black nightshades. Solanum nigrum L. and related species. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops 15. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben, Germany/International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy. 113 pp.
Other references
• Bukenya, Z.R., 1996. Uses, chromosome number and distribution of Solanum species in Uganda. In: van der Maesen, L.J.G., van der Burgt, X.M. & van Medenbach-de Rooy, J.M. (Editors). Proceedings 14th AETFAT Congress, 22–27 August 1994, Wageningen, Netherlands. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands. pp. 33–37.
• D’Arcy, W.G., 1979. The classification of the Solanaceae. In: Hawkes, J.G., Lester, R.N. & Skelding, A.D. (Editors). Solanaceae 1. The biology and taxonomy of the Solanaceae. Academic Press, London, United Kingdom. pp. 3–47.
• van Wyk, B.E. & Gericke, N., 2000. People’s plants: a guide to useful plants of southern Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria, South Africa. 351 pp.
• Westphal, E., 1975. Agricultural systems in Ethiopia. Verslagen van landbouwkundige onderzoekingen 826. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, Netherlands. 278 pp.
Author(s)
P.C.M. Jansen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.J.H. Grubben
Prins Hendriklaan 24, 1401 AT Bussum, Netherlands
O.A. Denton
National Horticultural Research Institute, P.M.B. 5432, Idi-Ishin, Ibadan, Nigeria
Associate Editors
C.-M. Messiaen
Bat. B 3, Résidence La Guirlande, 75, rue de Fontcarrade, 34070 Montpellier, France
R.R. Schippers
De Boeier 7, 3742 GD Baarn, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Jansen, P.C.M., 2004. Solanum grossedentatum A.Rich. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.