Readers please note
series of articles is in construction some tiny
the eventual photos will be seen in the relevant places, even before we
authorized to publish them. Unusual practice, but as we are in the
process of contacting every
owner, it helps in explaining what we are trying to achieve (someone
already asked if it was an encyclopedia of eggplants). Should any
one feel offended by this process we apologize and
remove any picture that we are specifically told to remove PROMPTLY. We hope to raise the interest
level of all people contacted by having these tiny gifs there as
appetizers. We certainly are not in the business of exploiting or
advantage of anyone. Education is our game and not only does it not pay
costs us far too much. We in turn do not feel exploited however, for we
find it too hard to stop our compulsive urge
to share knowledge. Moreover we learn as much as our readers in the process, so
are just selfish and trying to satisfy a deep need. Hum! a psych.
Overall Disclaimer The
in these articles is offered in
good faith, without warranty. Although the compiling has been done with
extreme care it is not possible to guarantee the accuracy of all the
It is meant to be used with a fair degree of common sense and logic.
Neither the author Michel H. Porcher, nor any publisher of this article
will have any liability whatsoever to any person or organisation in
respect to any alleged loss, damage or liability incurred from the use
of the information presented.
Opinions expressed on these pages are the author's own and do not represent the views of the The University of Melbourne, the I.S.T.A, USDA - ARS - GRIN or their respective staff, neither is it meant to represent or support any view expressed elsewhere by all the authors quoted, the companies and organizations referred to.
Reproduced from "Eggplant Harvest" with permission from copyright owner Kenneth E. Point
This is just an
appetizer, keep clicking.
This series of articles
entitled "Know your …" is born out of my frustrations of the last 2
decades during my work on the MMPND, when I observed the demarcation
the world of taxonomy on one hand and what I call the trade on the
is the seed industry, the nursery industry, and all their associated
professionals as well as gardeners, farmers, cooks and chefs. The two
tend to ignore each other as if they belonged to two different worlds.
been slowly changing in the last 4 or 5 years and hopefully, starting
these articles on eggplants I will stimulate a few more people towards
I must have been very inspired when I got involved with flickr because
see the tremendous potential of all these photographers craving for
recognition. I know also that academics in general, taxonomists in
are always short of nice photos to illustrate their work. Here is a
ever I saw one. So I am showing the way. I am also attempting to
companies a second time, this time with a lot of "baggage". The first
time, back in the mid eighties when I really began the MMPND project, I
very successful because I could not explain clearly enough what I
achieve and I was looked upon as a threat (as the late Georges
Brassens would have put it "un empêcheur de tourner en rond")
more than a well
intentioned fool… well! I was told far too often "Who in his right mind
would attempt such a project". Well folks this is it, this is the
beginning of the crowning of the project, these articles reflect what I
to achieve. It appears that I was alone in understanding the amount of
that had to be invested and I was pretty much the only person willing
to spend the time doing the task. I probably won't live long enough to
all the main crops but I'll give it a darn good go starting with our
Since its importation
decades ago (18th century?) the eggplant, as we know it
in the west has mostly been a food plant producing the vital ingredient
traditional and regional dishes such as the Greek Moussaka. In the
garden it is
a plant with simply huge dark boring uninspiring fruits. In its
state (from India and other exotic places) it
had a fruit that was truly egg-shaped, hence its English name,
French by "La plante aux oeufs" in the great catalogues of the past.
There is a little disagreement on the colour of it but whether it was
black or anything in between, like many
of its cousins the tomato or the nightshades, it was a curiosity, an
ornament in the
suspected poisonous overtones in those times.
recent decades, following worldwide searches in the centres of
tremendous number of new varieties and species have been uncovered and
exploited by the seed industry. Unfortunately the horticultural
market gardeners and the providers of this vegetable have not taken
of this diversity pretexting a lack of interest by their customers.
this is true to a certain extent, it is also a fact that if a
wishes to impose a new taste on the unsuspecting public a few good ads
strategically placed can work wonders. It has been left to gardeners
do the promotion of exciting varieties of eggplants. These articles are
part of this worldwide movement, the push for diversity in our food
plants. How does that fit into the loss of
bio-diversity debate? In order to answer this question we first have to
science of plant classification and its shortcomings.
Please note that I have taken the habit of writing the significant botanical Latin words, which by convention should be in italic, in bold. This practice began with the original online publishing of the MMPND for screen effect. Today as we update our files we try to combine both.
This demonstration is based only on the following
references for the sake of simplification:
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants - Code International pour la Nomenclature des Plantes Cultivées.
I can hear "at a price of € 55 it is no wonder that non-professionals do not bother buying it. These publications of International value should be available on line via a registration form but free of charge. Then the content might be taken into consideration more often in daily life" Well! It is < http://www.actahort.org/books/647/ >.
Finally a complex example: Solanum indicum L.
Solanum indicum auct. (tolerated) = Solanum anguivi Lam. (Accepted name)
Solanum indicum L. (dubious) = Solanum violaceum Ortega (Accepted name)
Solanum indicum L. (dubious) = Solanum lasiocarpum Dunal (Accepted name)
Solanum indicum Roxb. (tolerated) = Solanum violaceum Ortega (Accepted name)
Solanum ferox auct. (tolerated) = Solanum lasiocarpum Dunal (Accepted name)
Solanum ferox auct. (tolerated) = Solanum indicum L. = Solanum violaceum Ortega (Accepted name)
Solanum ferox Burm. f. (tolerated) = Solanum ferox L. ?
Solanum ferox Jungh. Ex Miq. (tolerated) = Solanum violaceum Ortega (Accepted name)
Solanum ferox L. (Accepted name)
Solanum ferox Mill. Ex Dunal. (tolerated) = Solanum tomentosum L. (Accepted name)
Solanum indicum L. (dubious) = (Not accepted) "nom. rej., a rejected name (nomen utique rejiciendum) under Vienna ICBN Art. 56 & App. V that is unavailable for use." (USDA-ARS GRIN).
All the names on the left, apart from the last,
are tolerated as synonyms by taxonomists.
So following a considerable researching time one finds all these synonyms. No wonder that the name Solanum indicum L. has been declared "unusable" or words to that effect. The point is that unless one adds the authority names at the end of either Solanum ferox or Solanum indicum one is never sure which species is taken into consideration for whatever work, mine happens to be translation. Many dictionaries will associate common names to any of those botanical names without precisely pinpointing what it is. It is likely that the lexicographers of the past would not have been aware of the taxonomic intricacies so they cannot really be blamed for the numerous mistakes and omissions found in the dictionaries. Today however computers and the internet allow us to be far more aware and accurate … and less blameless.
Generally speaking in terms of bio-diversity the species is the unit that is counted when assessing the losses. A specific name (species) is made up of two words (a binomial) a generic name (genus) and a specific epithet. Normally it should also have the abbreviated version of an authoritative expert's name - a taxonomist (a botanist specialised in plant classification). Already there are problems with this.
1. Because the authority name
is almost always omitted in horticultural literature it leads to grave
identification. As demonstrated above Solanum indicum is a perfect
how this process can get totally out of control.
2. When it comes to food plant diversity at the specific level we only consider the "tip of the iceberg" because if a species is lost all the subspecies, the varieties, the forms, the hundreds of cultivars (cultivated varieties) and their regional selections (as well as other types of selections - usually simply market driven) are lost. In other words one loss can in reality equal thousands. This would not be an overstatement in many cases. This may not be called "plant bio-diversity" but it is a loss of diversity nevertheless. What is lost is the patient work of selection by generations of gardeners and farmers from every corner of the globe. The "new world order" can be both an accelerator of the problem via the concentration of the heritage in a few "corporations hands" (facilitated by governments) or part of the solution via the inter-connected networks of seed savers, the slow food movement, the revival of regional cooking and related terroirs, etc. This however is increasingly under threat due to various laws related to "official lists", quarantine restrictions, patenting, and business laws.
are here -> Introduction <- You
African eggplants (Pt1)
The Gilo Group
The Shum Group
The Aculeatum Group
Solanum anguivi Lam.
Solanum macrocarpon L.
Asian eggplants (Pt2)
Solanum melongena L.
Solanum torvum Sw.
Solanum ferox L.
Bilingual lexiques applied to all types of eggplants
Cultivar descriptions and seed sources tables
(other than those shown under respective shots)
References for all pages
Solanum melongena L.
AFRIKAANS : Eiervrug.
ARABIC : باذنجان Bādhimjān, الباذنجان Badinjan (al baðinjān).
ARMENIAN : բադրիջան
BENGALI : বেগুন Begun, বার্তাকু Baingan.
BULGARIAN : Патладжан Patladzsan .
BURMESE : Kayan.
CATALAN : Albargina,
CHINESE : 茄 Qie, 茄子 Qie zi, Ai gua / ngai gwa (Cantonese name).
CROATIAN : Патлиџан
CZECH : Lilek, Lilek baklažán, Lilek vejcoplodý.
DANISH : Ægplante, Aubergine.
DUTCH : Aubergine, Eierplant, Eiervrucht, Melanzaanappel.
ENGLISH : Aubergine (UK.), Eggplant (USA), Brinjal (India), Large-fruited eggplant, Melongen (Caribbean Trinidad).
ESTONIAN : Baklažaan.
FINNISH : Aubergiini, Munahedelmä, Munakoiso.
FRENCH : Albergínia (Catalan), Aubergine, Bringelle, Mélongène.
GERMAN : Eierfrucht, Eierpflanz.
: Μελιτζάνα Melitzana.
GUJARATI : રીંગણ Ringan, Ringna, વેંગણ Vengan.
HEBREW : חציל Hatzil, חָצִיל Hatzil.
HINDI : औबरजाइन्स Aubarajā'insa, बैंगन Baigan, Baijani, बैंगन Baingan.
HUNGARIAN : Padlizsán , Padlizsános, Tojàsgyümölcs.
ICELANDIC : Eggaldinjurt.
ITALIAN : Maranziana, Melanzana, Mulignana, Petonciano, Petrociana.
JAPANESE : ダ イマルナス Daimaru nasu, 大丸なす Daimaru nasu, 大丸茄子 Daimaru nasu, エッ グプラント Eggupuranto, 茄子 Nasu, なす Nasu, ナス Nasu.
KANNADA : Badanekai.
KASHMIRI : वाँगुन्.
KHMER : Trâb vèèng, Trâb put lonhoong.
KOREAN : 가지.
LAOTIAN : Khüa ham maaz, Khüa hlèèz, Khüa poom.
LITHUANIAN : Baklažanas.
MACEDONIAN : Патлиџан Patlidžan.
MALAGASY : Baranjely.
MALAY : Terong, Terung (Indonesia), Encung (Indonesia), Tiung (Sumatra).
MALAYALAM : Valutananna, Vazhudhanaikkai, വഴുതന Vazhuthana, Vazhuthananga.
MARATHI : वांगे Vangi.
NEPALI : भन्टा
NORWEGIAN : Aubergine, Eggfrukt.
ORIYA : Baigana.
PERSIAN : بادنجان Bâdenjân, بادنجان Bâdinjân.
POLISH : Bakłazan, Gruszka miłosna, Oberżyna, Oberżynowy.
PORTUGUESE : Beringela.
PUNJABI : ਵੈੰਗਣ
, ਬੈਂਗਨ Baingana.
ROMANIAN : Patlagea vanata, Pătlăgea vânătă, Pătlăgele vinete , Vanata, Vânătă, Vinete.
RUSSIAN : Баклажан Baklazhan (Baklažan).
SANSKRIT : Bhantaki , Nattingan, वातिगगम Vaatigagama (vātiga-gama), वृन्ताकम् ,Vatinganah, Varttaka.
SERBIAN : Плави патлиџан Plavi patlidžan, Патлиџан Patlidžan.
SLOVENIAN : Jajčevec, Patlidžan jajcevec.
SLOVAK : Baklažán, Baklažány (plur.)
SPANISH : Berenjena, Albergínia (Catalan).
SWAHILI : Mbilingani, Mbiringanya.
SWEDISH : Äggplanta, Äggört, Aubergine.
TAGALOG : Talong.
TAMIL : Kathiri , Kathirikai, கத்திரி Kattiri, கத்தரி .
TELUGU : వంగ Vanga, వంకాయ Vankāya, బ్రింజాల్ , ఎగ్గ్ ప్లాంట్ , ఆబర్జీన్ , వార్తాకము.
THAI : มะเขือ Makhua, มะเขือยาว Ma khuea yao (Ma khuea yaao, Makhua yao, Makhua yow) , Makhua chan, มะเขือขาว Ma khuea khao (Má kĕua kăao, Makhua khao, Ma khua kow, Ma kuah kow).
TURKISH : پاتلیجان (patlıcan), Patlıcan.
UKRAINIAN : Баклажани.
URDU : بینگن Baingan.
VIETNAMESE : Cà tim, Cà bat, Cà tin, Quả cà.
VISAYAN : Bringhinas, Tarong.
I wish to acknowledge the kind cooperation of many colleagues mentioned throughout this article and mostly all my flickr contacts who have provided useful comments and many of those beautiful photos. Thanks to all.
Agnieszka Sękara, Stanisław Cebula, Edward Kunicki, 2007, Cultivated eggplants – origin, breeding objectives and genetic resources, a review. FOLIA HORTICULTURAE Ann. 19/1, 2007, 97-114. Department of Vegetable Crops Agricultural University in Kraków, Poland. < http://www.ptno.ogr.ar.krakow.pl/Pobrania/download.php?action=save&id=197& cat=fh19012007 >. PDF file. *****
AllPenang.com, 2007, Multilingual List of Vegetables available in the Penang Wet Market. < http://malaysian-cuisine.com/touristinfo/wet_market-vegetables.htm >.
Bukenya, Z. R. and J. B. Hall. 1987. Six cultivars of Solanum macrocarpon (Solanaceae) in Ghana. Euphytica 17(1): 91-5.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences - Cornell University. Interesting evaluations of most eggplants cultivars on the market by subscribers. < http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu/mainSearch/showAll.php?ID=23&sortBy=overallrating&order=DESC&searchIn=1 >.
DNP, 2005, Solanum
trilobatum. National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.
Elizabeth Byanjeru Rubaihayo, Conservation and use of traditional vegetables in Uganda < http://www.bioversityinternational.org/publications/Web_version/500/ch15.htm >.
Names < http://www.ethiopic.com/aplants.htm
Flora Europaea: Database of European Plants (ESFEDS).
Guillet Dominique, 2007, Semences de Kokopelli, 7th Edition. Edition La Voix des Semences. pp. 452 - 463.
Botanical and Experimental Garden, Radboud
University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. EGGNET
genetic resources NETwork), a project funded by the European
The project is coordinated by Ms. Marie-Christine Daunay, Unité de
& amélioration des fruits et légumes, INRA, Montfavet, France. <
International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) Acta Horticulturae 647.
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants - Code International pour la Nomenclature des Plantes Cultivées. < http://www.actahort.org/books/647/ >.
Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops.
Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Florida Area, Southern Region.
and Education Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mayaguez,
Rico 00708 & Department of Horticulture, University of Illinois,
MARTIN F. W. & RHODES A. M. 1978, SUBSPECIFIC GROUPING OF CULTIVARS EGGPLANT. Euphytica 28 (1979) 367 383.
of Myanmar. <
M.M.P.N.D. For all nomenclatural details we refer you to our page on Eggplants.
Natural History Museum. Solanaceae Source - A global taxonomic resource for the nightshade family. < http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/solanaceaesource/taxonomy/list.jsp >.
The following reference pages from PROTA contain far more colour photos and details on all aspects of the species treated above. We have considered the information on these pages as our main references because they contain far more details than any other source. *****
Bukenya-Ziraba, R., 2004. Solanum anguivi Lam. [Internet] Record from Protabase. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. < http://database.prota.org/search.htm>. Accessed 18 April 2009.
Lester, R.N. & Seck, A., 2004. Solanum aethiopicum L. [Internet] Record from Protabase. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. < http://database.prota.org/search.htm>. Accessed 18 April 2009.
Bukenya-Ziraba, R. & Bonsu, K.O., 2004. Solanum macrocarpon L. [Internet] Record from Protabase. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. < http://database.prota.org/search.htm>. Accessed 18 April 2009.
Schippers, R.R., 2004. Solanum torvum Sw. [Internet] Record from Protabase. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. < http://database.prota.org/search.htm>. Accessed 18 April 2009.
Center (SCC ), 2001-2009,
(Official Ukrainian and Moldavian Distributor of Seminis).
Russian & English versions of every page.
global taxonomic resource for the
Apart from all the photos
flickr, some pretty good shots of eggplants can also be found there:
FOTOSEARCH - Stock Photography and Stock Footage.
EEC. The 2008 official EEC European seed list for eggplants. This is the hated list at the center of the landmark court case Graines Baumaux vs Kokopelli. I have just learnt that Sweden is actually exempted from adhering to the list because their extremely cold conditions require locally adapted cultivars. Thanks Søren for this piece of information. Unfortunately this list does not tell us which cultivar is open pollinated or hybrid but it is still worth looking at.
Seeds of India. A useful
glossary of food ingredients in 7 popular languages from India.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault - Global Crop Diversity Trust - NordGen . You may have heard of it already, if not it is worth exploring the site itself. It is also worth browsing the many positive and negative comments on this project. There are interesting questions posed such as: where is the financial backing coming from? Who exactly has access to the germplasm? Can germplasm stored this way in such "gianormous" quantities be renewed often enough to ensure viability of the seeds? How much information is revealed via the interface with the general public? etc.
Evaluations of various cultivars can be interesting. Here are a few:
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences , Cornell University , Cornell Cooperative Extension , Cornell Garden-Based Learning Institute.
University of California Cooperative
Extension, Santa Clara County Master
Gardener Program, McClellan Ranch Project. Co-Leaders
Magie Klughertz and Tom
Jow. Fred Schulenburg provided some excellent photos that may or may
not be viewable depending on your browser. We will incorporate them
into our files soon with permission. Eggplant
2004. Photos: < http://www.mastergardeners.org/projects/mcclellan/2004/eggplant_photos.html
Note1: I understand that using the same Botanical-Latin word in both the group name and its matching botanical synonym is discouraged by taxonomists. My view, based on considerable experience in nomenclature, is that the alternative is invariably to use English word(s) instead for the group name, and I do not like it for the following reasons.
One: English may be the most international language of all but it is not the preferred language of all people. It is presently the easiest to use in the electronic medium but with improving technology this is changing very fast indeed.
Two: assuming that English is for ever the
adopted standard, with none of Nostradamus forecasting powers, I can
safely predict that either most cultivar names will be replaced with
numbers, or the number of cultivar names will be multiplied by an
inestimable enormous factor. This is because, say for argument sake,
one wanted to call a Japanese or an Indian cultivar by its English
equivalent. Which standard of translation / transcription /
transliteration is going to be used? any number out of 30
possibilities. A bonanza for the merchants who like to disguise a known
entity under various alias. What a travesti of real bio-diversity that
Computer are fantastic machines but I doubt that they could keep a record of all synonymy, leaving aside all the accession numbers from various databases around the world.
Three: Botanical-Latin words have been and are recognized more and more by the general public in any country in any language - this is not by choice but by economic necessity. My view is why change those words again for something that will be as obscure to some people as Botanical-Latin? There may be millions of English readers but there are billions that cannot read English. Which English anyway? American, British, Australian, Indian, Australian? The use of group names is meant to be a simplification of the complicated "subvar." and "convar." of the past so let's keep it as simple and stable as possible.
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