Know your eggplants Part 3


American and European types and cultivars




African eggplants
The Gilo Group

The Kumba Group
The Shum Group
The Aculeatum Group

Solanum anguivi Lam.

Solanum macrocarpon L.

Asian eggplants
Solanum melongena L.
Solanum torvum Sw.
Solanum ferox L.

You are here     European eggplants       You are here

Related Nightshades (Pt4)


Bilingual lexiques

African - English

Japanese - English
Malay - English
Thai - English

Cultivar descriptions and seed sources tables

African  eggplants
Asian eggplants

European eggplants

The world of eggplants in a nutshell

American and European eggplants almost exclusively belong to the species Solanum melongena L. Many authors have attempted to classified them, sort them in groups, but this is rather difficult due to the tremendous variety of shapes, sizes and colours (although they are less colourful than Asian and African types). The best that one can do is sort them by groups. An example of group classification, among others, follows.

The small round-shaped (Rotondatum Group)

Catalogues call those "Cherry type" or "Cherry size" for obvious reasons.

Of course as it is far too often the case some round-fruited cultivars are not in the " round-fruited group". The reason is that their size is more significant than their shape so they are placed in the Giganteum Group. This group is almost entirely composed of Asian cultivars.





Reproduced from flickr with permission from copyright owner Christen Taylor

A most impressive display of  'Prosperosa' captured  by Kristen Taylor at D.C. Dupont Circle market.
This variety is on the borderline, too large to be here, too small to be included into the Giganteum Group. 




The egg-shaped (Ovigerum Group)

These are mostly represented by the Japanese cultivars such as Black Egg, White Egg (卵形な す), Thai cultivars such as Yellow Egg, and Indian cultivars such as Egg Red but there are shades of these and other colours as well. 'Ophelia' (darker purple below) is one of the European cultivars. Catalogues call those "Egg type" for obvious reasons.







Reproduced from flickr with permission from the copyright owner: Wendy Moody

Reproduced from  flickr  with permission from the copyright owner: Candy Crabill

Reproduced from flickr with permission from the copyright owner: Jodi Mowery




Top mark for creativity in making the point 

Top mark for creativity in making the point

Top mark for creativity in making the point







The large round-fruited or semi-oblong (Giganteum Group)

These are overwhelmingly represented by the Western types of eggplants. They are the large dark purple fruits of the supermarkets, and fresh markets of Europe and America. Some attractively coloured fruits from Italy, America and Asia such as the white, green and pink examples below feature in this group. Catalogues and the trade consider those "normal eggplants" so they don't name them in any particular way, apart from using the cultivar name itself.  There is a strong tendency in horticulture to replace those names by numbers, especially when referring to hybrids and GE varieties, something that as a lexicographer I dislike very strongly because it denies any sense of culture and tradition. This is understandable since those concepts are becoming obsolete in the brave new world order. I have to admit my bias here, I have deliberately left out any cultivar identified by just a number. Sometimes catalogues use expressions like "Enorma type" based on a better known cultivar, in order to identify those eggplants with more precision within this large group.


Variations on a theme



Reproduced from flickr with permission from copyright owner Laurel F. Stewart

An off-type of Rosa Bianca "Pink Beauty"?

 a "Violet Beauty"
labelled as 'Rosa Bianca' by Terroir Seeds and others

we are trying to find the copyright owner of this beautiful shot. Any help appreciated.

Reproduced with permission from SicilPlants Italy

'Black Beauty' Selection 'Baffa

Reproduced from an original with permission of copyright owner Eran Finkle from flickr    

A recurring form of 'Black Beauty'

Reproduced from flickr with permission of copyright owner Michel H. Porcher
A form of something well known but still looking for an identity. 'Violetta di Firenze' ?


Reproduced from an original with permission of copyright owner Eran Finkle  from flickr 

A recurring form of 'Black Beauty'








青茄 子

'Black Bell'

丸 なす





'Tonda Romanesca


Photo credit Piante e Passione







The short or elongated fruits (Oblongatum Group)

In this group we find cultivars from both the East and the West. Many of the most attractively coloured fruits are in this group. To describe those, catalogues and the trade use expressions like "cluster type" or "Calliope type", based on a better known type or cultivar name within a particular trading circle. These fruits usually range in size from 3 to 8 inches in length.



 'Long Purple' 6 to 8 inches long.
Photo credit Southern Exposure

'Lavender Touch' 5 to 7 inches long
Photo credit Park Seeds

'Antigua' 8 inches long
Photo credits Long Island Seed Project

'Louisiana Long Green' 6 to 9 inches long
Photo credit Reimer Seeds

'Rosita'  5 to 7 inches long
Photo credit Southern Exposure

'Neon'  6 to 8 inches long
Photo credit Seeds by Design

'Orient Charm' 8 to 10 inches long
Photo credit Green Earth Growers

'Calliope' 4 inches
Reproduced from flickr with permission from the copyright owner: Louise

Japanese Oblong  長なす

'White Beauty' 5 to 6 inches long
Photo credit Southern Exposure

'Lavender Long'  5 to 6 inches long

'Chinese Long Purple' 4 inches
Photo credits Long Island Seed Project





The long-fruited (Cylindricum Group)

These are mostly represented by the Asian cultivars, Chinese in particular, but also a few Thai and one or two Italian. Consequently catalogues and the trade tend to name those after their country of origin. A Thai long type of a Chinese long type. These fruits range from 10 to 18 inches in length.





30 to 45 cm

(12 to 18 inches)



40 to 45 cm

(16 to 18 inches)

25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches)






American and European cultivars on the world market

The intention in displaying the following table is to demonstrate that there is more to eggplants than the dark purple monsters from the supermarkets and to show a basic array of shapes and colours by naming a few cultivars. There are thousands more so they would not fit into a single table. A proper place would be a good searchable database. When we find one that we like we will let you know. We have collected far more data than was required for these articles. We will replace the tables in these articles by better more comprehensive records for each cultivar. This requires several more months in order to get clearance from various seed companies. If you are a programmer and good at handling databases we would like to talk to you. Together we may come up with something suitable. We have listed Asian and African cultivars in separate tables in their respective articles.

We have done our best trying to identify every cultivar mentioned. If we have made mistakes please tell us. We have not discriminated between so called organic source of seeds and others in order to offer the broad spectrum of what is available in the world. Some of the companies listed are not seed companies but sources of material. They could be selling seedlings or even produce. We are happy to point them out for they are part of the lesser known "eggplant world". Again if we missed something please tell us, we will update this table promptly. 

This is not a print publication but a live interactive guide. Comments are very welcome, we thrive on them - send mail to



Botanical identification


Cultivar name / Vernacular name

Descriptive info.

(various sources)

Photo of cultivar or type if available


Solanum melongena L.


Italian cultivar. 2'' x 6" beautiful, creamy white fruits with lilac-purple streaks. Flesh is extremely mild and bitter free. 90 days.

Available: Tomato Growers, Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Apple-green, medium-sized fruits. Tender skin doesn't require peeling. Choice variety for cool-season areas. 62 to 70 days.

Available: Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design



Baby Bell F1

The 30 cm high plants bear lots of jet black spine free fruits. Available: Nicky's Nursery


Baby Rosanna F1

24 inches plant suitable for tub growing.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd



Baby Marbled

3-4" lavendar fruits with apple green and white striping. 80 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Bianca Oval

Italian variety with 3'' white fruits. 75 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Black Beauty aka Bellezza Nera aka Belleza Negra

Plant may produce 10 to 15 fruits 6-1/2"" long by 5"" diameter. Fruits can be large but best harvested when smaller. 72 to 85 days.

Available: Semi Al Portico, Nicky's Nursery, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design, Park Seeds, Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a, Anseme S.p.a. Italy, Sementi Fuscello Gianfranco, Ktima Bioma


Black Egg

An early Japanese cultivar with small, tender, egg-shaped or pear-shaped fruits about 5 inches long. The 3 foot tall plant is somewhat tolerant of flea beetles, its foliage is green with purple veins. 65 to 75 days.

Available: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design, Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Black Enorma F1

30 inches plant. 75 days.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd




Creamy-white inside and out, with a lavender blush when ripe. Fine-flavoured flesh, 85 days.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange



Calliope F1

Oval white and purple striped fruit. 75 days.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd




Shiny ivory white fruits are 6 inches by 2.5. 70 to 75 days.

Available: Seeds by Design


Clara F1

Slightly elongated egg-shaped white fruits 6 to 8 cm, 100g each.


Cloud Nine

7" (17 cm) long pure white teardrop shaped eggplants. Eggplant has bitter-free taste and has white flesh. 65 to 75 days.

Available: Reimer Seeds, Tradewinds Fruit, Seeds of India


Crescent Moon

All white fruit.

Available: Burpee



Fairy Tale

Petite plant with decorative miniature eggplants white with violet/purple stripes. The fruit are sweet, non-bitter, with a tender skin and few seeds. 49 to 51 days

Available: Nicky's Nursery, Park Seeds


Farmers Long F1

Long slender purple-veined fruits 30 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. White tender flesh with excellent flavour. Early producing plant tolerant of bacterial wilt.

Available: Nicky's Nursery



Florentine Silk

Pink-lavender fruits are medium size, and grooved with white shading on the shoulders. Flesh is sweet and mild. 90 days

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Florida High Bush

Plant disease and drought resistant.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd, Seed Savers Exchange




Green Egg

3" round to oval apple green fruits. Mild flesh. Great stuffer. Seedy.

80 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Green Goddess




The small snow-white fruits grow in clusters on plants 3' wide and 3' tall at maturity. Best picked when the fruits are about 3 - 4 inches but the skin will remain tender if the harvest is delayed. Suitable for tub growing (container must be about 16" deep). 55 days.

Available: Park Seeds



Clusters of three to six small purple fruits that will remain tender and sweet if the harvest is delayed. Plant suited to tub growing. 55 days.

Available: Park Seeds



Elongated shape, shiny green fruits borne in bunches.





Purple eggplant, almost black. Very flavorful and tender.




Indian Paint

Small round fruit from India, brightly colored with neon purple and white stripes.




Italian Pink Bicolor

Large bell shaped fruits are a creamy purple lavender with pink stripes. 90 days




Japanese White Egg



 Origin: Greece.


Lavender Touch F1

Pretty white teardrop to cylindrical 5 to 7 inches fruits glossy ivory washed in soft lilac. with a lavender blush. Excellent flavor. 63 days.

Available: Nicky's Nursery, Park Seeds


Lebanese Bunching

Plant is covered with bunches of slender banana-shaped fruits 3 or 4 to a single stem. 80 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Listada de Gandia

Italian eggplant with many culinary uses.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd


Little Fingers

A smaller version of Lebanese Bunching. 75 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Long Purple aka Lunga Violetta aka Longue Violette aka Larga Violeta

Sturdy, heavy-bearing plant with dark-purple fruits 2 -2.5 inches by 8 -10 inches long. Best picked before they are 1 inch in diameter. 4 fruits per plant. 70 to 80 days.

Available: Semi Al Portico, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Fratelli Ingegnoli. Anseme S.p.a. Italy.


Longue Blanche aka Long White

Productive oriental cultivar bearing creamy white fruits with a smooth silky sheen without bitterness. 80 days.

Available: Plants Potagers, Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Louisiana Green Oval




Louisiana Long Green

Plant 3.5 feet tall with light green banana shaped 6 to 9 inches sweet fruits, sometimes with pale stripes. 85 to 100 days.

Available: Seeds of Change, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design, Marianna's Heirloom Seeds


Luna Bianca

Available: Semi Al Portico




Available: Semi Al Portico



Moneymaker F1

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd, Nicky's Nursery





Uniform dark purple tender early fruits.

Available: The Grower's Exchange




Neon F1

Ripens to a deep bright neon pink color (Sometimes confused with Rosita). Vertcillium tolerant and very adaptable to many climates. 70 days.

Available: Seeds by Design, Tradewinds Fruit



Night Shadow

Jet black glossy tear drop- shaped fruits.




Orient Charm F1 *****

Pink-white Orient Express type.

8-10" x 1 3/8" fruits with shades of fluorescent pink, pastel pink, and white with green calyx. Strong plant with high yields..

Available: The Growers Exchange, Johnny's Selected Seeds



Orient Express




Orlando F1

Virtually spineless, dwarf plants. Finger-length 'baby' fruits, 5cm (2in) have dark-purple skins and are not at all bitter.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd



Pandora Striped Rose *****

Italian eggplant with teardrop shaped fruits that are a lovely lilac or rose pink colour with thin white stripes running lengthwise down every eggplant. 85 days.

Available: Roguelands Vegetable Seeds Company, Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Synonym of Ping Tung Long ?

Violet-purple sweet fruits 45cm long and 5cm in diameter. Disease resistant and highly productive (20 fruits per plant).. Top Chinese cultivar on the market from Taiwan. 62 days

Available: Nicky's Nursery



Ping Tung Long *****

Synonym of Ping Tung ?

Deep shiny lavender fruits . Keep plant upright in order to get straight fruits.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange



Prosperosa *****

Italian eggplant. A real standout in the garden.  Quite productive. 80 days.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd, Marianna's Heirloom Seeds, Park Seeds, Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a


Purple Comet F1

Long Chinese type, dark purple almost black fruit. Fruit are about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Almost seedless at young stage. 55 days.

Available : Seeds by Design






Rosa Bianca

Italian heirloom, medium-sized 5-8 inch oval stunning light pink fruits with occasional creamy white shading, meaty, mild flavor with no bitterness, plants are 30 inches tall. 75 to 90 days.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design



Lavender pink teardrop-shaped fruits. The white flesh is mild and sweet. The fruit skin is tender without a trace of bitterness. from Puerto Rico. Southern Exposure favour it over Rosa Bianca (an Italian heirloom). We experience the opposite. Rosita performs very poorly for us. 70 to 85 days.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange



Rotonda Bianca Sfumata di Rosa *****

Beautiful Italian large size eggplant. White fruits with light pink rose blushing.  Flavor is mild and flesh is tender. 90 to 120 days

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Sais Sementi s.p.a., Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a, Anseme S.p.a. Italy.


Round Mauve

Brilliant rose-pink fruits are teardrop shaped.  Bright white shadow around the calyx. 90 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Slim Jim

10 cm purple fruits on 40 cm plant.

Available: Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a




Medium white 18cm fruits with creamy white flesh and firm white skin.

Available: Nicky's Nursery


  Striped Toga
 Green striped egg-shaped orange fruits 7 to 8 cm long. Strong flavour but not bitter.

Available : Seed Savers Exchange, Graines Baumaux



Tsakoniki aka Τσακώνικη

Greek cultivar. Purple white striped fruits 18 to 22 cm x 3 cm , 200 to 220 g. Plant 80 to 90 cm
Available : Ktima Bioma



Available: Park Seeds







See Pt2 Asian Eggplants


Violetta di Firenze aka Violette de Florence

Available: Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a







Violetta Lunga Precoce aka Longue Violette Hative aka Melanzana Lunga Violetta

See 'Long Purple'



Viserba F1

Italian cultivar.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd



Waimanalo Long

Productive, with long black fruits up to 16 inches. Mild and sweet flesh. 80 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



White Beauty

Plant suitable for in hot, humid areas (Sydney). Fruits average 5 to 6 inches in length, are slightly oval in shape. 70 days.

Available: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange


White Egg aka Bianca a Uovo

Available: Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a



White Star F1

Plant 30 - 36 inches tall with tapered teardrop-shaped, smooth creamy white fruits.

Available: Seeds by Design



2 x 6" dark purple fruits. Mild fleshed.

70 days.

Available: Marianna's Heirloom Seeds



Zebra F1

Italian style fruits approx 15 to 20 cm. Maturing in approx 70 days.

Available: Nicky's Nursery









Sources of seeds

Note on the following companies.

A number of those are part of complex corporate structures and are difficult to contact directly. The main address that we give below is a starting point. We are not sponsored by any of those companies nor do we receive any favour from them apart from the odd catalogue photo. It would be nice to be able to link directly to a gallery or a photo or a description but this is sometimes impossible and practice has taught us that these links never last long anyway because online catalogues / sites are updated too often. The seed sources likely to carry Open Pollinated / bio ag. friendly cultivars are tagged with (O.P. cvs), Others are more likely to carry some hybrids but they may have also some organic sections such as Graines Baumaux. Few are either totally "organic" or completely "non organic" ie. holding only hybrids (F1 cvs) or GM cultivars.


Agriculture Consulting Ltd. (Official Ukrainian and Moldavian Distributor of Seminis). Also known as Scientific-Consulting Center (SCC ). Russian & English versions of every page. (16 F1 cvs)

Anseme Spa. Italy. (3 O.P. cvs)

Eden Seeds  Australia.  (8 O.P. cvs)

Esasem Spa.  (Distibutor of Sakata Vegetables Europe) Italy Ltd.  Retail online seeds from Thompson & Morgan, Botanical Interest Seeds, Unwins etc. (5 O.P. cvs)

Exotic Garden Finland (7 cvs)

Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a Italy   (7 O.P. cvs & 2 F1 cvs)

Graines Baumaux   France. (17 O.P. cvs) + (12 F1 cvs).

Green Earth Growers   Seedlings, USA (18cvs)


Johnny's Selected Seeds USA. Interesting online catalogue, very cool!  (17 F1 cvs) + (1 O.P. cv)

Ktima Bioma Greece. (3 cvs)

Nicky's Nursery   UK   (10 F1 cvs & 9 O.P. cvs ) 


Park Seeds USA. (4 F1 cvs & 3 O.P. cvs)

Piante & Passione - Italy. A division of Ecofaber. (Source of Melanzana 'Seta')   (5 cvs)


Plants Potagers France.  (8 O.P. cvs)


Podington Online Garden Centre. UK. (4 cvs)


Roguelands Vegetable Seeds Company UK (United Kingdom). (4 cvs)


Sais Sementi s.p.a. Italy.  (3 cvs)


Seeds of Change USA.  (11 O. P. cvs)


Seeds by Design USA.  (8 F1 cvs & 12 O.P. cvs)

Seemnemaailm  Estonia. (4 F1 cvs & 9 O.P. cvs)

Sementi Fuscello Gianfranco    Italy

Semi Al Portico    Italy. 

SicilPlants  Italy. Hold 'Black Beauty' sel Baffa  (25 cvs)


The Grower's Exchange USA. 


Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd World wide. (5 F1 cvs & 4 O.P. cvs)

Tomato Growers Supply Company  USA  (13 O.P. cvs)  + (13 F1 cvs)


Trade Winds Fruit USA. Edible (18 cvs), Ornamental (4 spp.)

Debate on the import of eggplant seeds into Australia

An interesting blog with comments on the Australian Quarantine Information System administering Quarantine Laws.

< >.

Further reading
Seeds / Plants sources  /  Useful contacts / Tips / More information
See also this section on all related pages.

Some Ukrainian cultivar names.

'Черный Красавец ' F1  =  Black Beauty
'Кариба' F  Kariba
'Клауд Найн' F1  =  Cloud Nine
'Зебра' F  =    Zebra
'Бибо' F1  =  Bibo (Украина)
'Биргах' F1   =  Birgah
'Блэкнайт' F1   =  Blacknite   (Украина)
'Импульс' F1   =  Impulse (Украина)
'Валентина' F1   =  Valentina
'Клоринда' F1   =  Clorinda
'Кубанита' F   =  Cubanita (Украина)
'Маруэкос' F1   =   Marruecos (Украина)
'Мирабел' F1   =   Mirabelle
'Солара' F1   =  Solara
'Эпик' F1   =  Epic
'Эрроу' F1   =  Arrow (Украина)

'Ночная тень' F1   =  Night Shadow

Extra photos

Farmers markets seem to be the only retail sources for extra ordinary fresh eggplants. Here are some beautiful examples captured by Flickr members.

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.... More to come ....

Finally for the reader who has never had the pleasure of seeing beautiful packets of seeds here are some self identified beauties
  (download the Powerpoint file to your desktop and view it with Internet Explorer - it will save you hassles. Reduce the size of the display so that the first seed packet photo is the size of a "standard" packet for clarity).



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. Many thanks to all.




Compiled by Michel H. Porcher 

Started: 12 / 04 / 09

Updated: 17 / 07 / 09

Completed: soon!