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Solanum torvum - Sw.

Common Name Pea Eggplant, Turkey berry
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most plants in the family Solanaceae also contain poisonous alkaloids. Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant [K ].
Habitats Woodland clearings, thickets and waste places at elevations from 15 - 1,260 metres in Jamaica [326]. Naturalised on open, moist ground at elevations up to 1,000 metres in Nepal [272].
Range South America - Brazil, Colombia, north to the Caribbean and through Central America to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Solanum torvum Pea Eggplant, Turkey berry

Forest & Kim Starr wikimedia.org
Solanum torvum Pea Eggplant, Turkey berry
Forest & Kim Starr wikimedia.org


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Solanum torvum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8. The flowers are pollinated by Birds.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


S. ficifolium Ortega. S. mayanum Lundell. Infraspecific taxa: S. torvum var. daturifolium (Dunal) O.E. Schulz.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Leaves  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Edible parts: Leaves, Fruit, Flowers, Vegetable. The young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked [46 , 301 ]. Fruit - raw or cooked.A juicy pulp, containing many small seeds [777 ]. A distinctive, bitter flavour, it tends to be more appreciated by older people [299 , 301 ]. The fruit is eaten raw in Asia, where it is also cooked and served as a side dish with rice, or is added to stews, soups, curries etc [299 , 301 ]. In the West Indies, the half-grown, firm berries are boiled and eaten with foods such as yams or akees, or are added to soups and stews [301 ]. The yellowish, globose berry can be 10 - 15mm in diameter, containing many small seeds [299 ]. The immature fruit is green, turning yellow then orange as it ripens [777 ]. An extract of the plant is sometimes used as a curdling agent [301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.
Antiemetic  Antifungal  Antiinflammatory  Antipyretic  Antirheumatic  Diuretic  Malaria

Solanum torvum is often used in traditional medicine and, when used wisely, its fruit and leaves can be used to control a range of microbial activities [299 ]. The glycoalkaloid solasodine, which is found in the leaves and fruits, is used in India in the manufacture of steroidal sex hormones for oral contraceptives [299 ]. The juice of the plant is used to treat fevers, coughs, asthma, chest ailments, sore throats, rheumatism, dropsy, stomach aches and gonorrhoea [272 ]. The juice of the flowers, with salt added, is used as eye drops [272 ]. The leaves are an effective antimicrobial [299 ] and diuretic [777 ]. An infusion is used as a treatment for thrush [348 ]. The leaves are dried and ground to powder, this is used as a medicine for diabetic patients [299 ]. The leaves are applied topically to treat cuts, wounds and skin diseases [266 , 299 ]. A syrup prepared from the leaves and flowers is used as a treatment for colds [348 ]. An infusion of the leaves and fruits is used as a treatment for bush yaws and sores [348 ]. The fruit is diuretic [777 ]. It is used in the treatment of malaria, stomach aches and problems with the spleen [348 , 777 ]. A decoction is given to children as a treatment for coughs [299 ]. The young fruits are used to improve the eyesight [266 ]. A paste of the mature fruit is applied as a poultice to the forehead to treat headaches [272 ]. The fruit juice is applied locally to ease the irritation of ant bites [348 ]. A decoction of the root is used to treat venereal disease. The roots are boiled, lime juice is added, and the whole is drunk as a treatment for malaria [348 ]. The juice of the roots is used to treat vomiting caused by weakness [272 ]. The pounded root is inserted into the cavity of a decayed tooth to relieve toothache [348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


The plant is sometimes used as a rootstock for tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and aubergines (Solanum melongena), where it conveys resistance to bacterial wilt and nematodes [299 , 418 ]. Solanum aethiopicum cv. ‘Iizuka’ gives better results with tomatoes [299 ]. Its resistance to a number of pests also makes it useful as a source of resistant gene transfer into useful Solanaceous crops (Jadari et al., 1992).

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

S. torvum is an erect or spreading prickly shrub, 1 to 3 m tall. A plant of the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,600 metres. Succeeds in full sun and in light shade [418 ]. Grows well in a range of fertile, moist but well-drained soils [418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6 (acidic), tolerating 4.3 - 6.8 [418 ]. Plants can tolerate some drought [305 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 17 - 29°c, but can tolerate 12 - 35°c [418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 700 - 4,200mm [418 ]. Heavy rainfall discourages fruit set [418 ]. The plant is spread by birds that eat the fruits and spread the seeds. It is considered to be a major weed in pastures, along roadsides and in wasteland in the tropics. It also occurs in plantations, but is not found in significant quantities in cultivated land [305 ]. Often found in disturbed areas, it can form dense impenetrable stands. Solanum torvum is considered to be a serious threat to the productivity and sustainability of pasture [413 ]. Besides its economic impacts, it competes with native species [413 ]. The plant commences flowering when 3 - 4 months old and is said to have an economic life of 3 - 5 years[299 , 418 ]. The plant can flower and produce fruit all year round [266 ]. It can regrow after a fire [305 ]. There are named forms in Africa and in Thailand [299 , 301 ]. At least one form is free of prickles [777].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - sow in a sunny position [299 ]. The fresh seed shows strong dormancy. Seed is sown in a nursery and seedlings are transplanted after 5 - 6 weeks at a spacing of 1 metre [299 ]. Branch cuttings taken from high-yielding shrubs are also used for propagation. Semi-hardwood cuttings 12 - 15cm long, collected from fresh shoots and with their leaves removed, will produce roots and new shoots in 3 - 4 weeks [299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Akapu, Akrim, Anjang kha, Anzangkha, Bak-kheng, Ban bihi, Ba'o, Bengar betahet, Bhit-tita, Bhurat, Bintorung, Buah ulam, Byako, Ca nhuong, Ca nong, Chepoka, Choondai kai, Chuko wana, Chundaikai, Devil's-fig, Devil’s Figs, Dieng-soh nonag, Ehiishikhokha, Gota begun, Hathubhekuri, Hati bhekuri, Hati-khunthai goukha, Hkawhkam-kaju, Jabadane, Jungli biya, Kaatuchunta, Kadusunde, Kao, Karinchi, Kashongo, Kattusundai, Kazaw-kha, Kemko, Khamchokraling, Khamkha sikam, Khamka sikum, Kharangjeh, Kha-yan-ka-zot, Kheang khah, Khem-khatai-baphangl, Khoith ha, Kutumba, Kutunbi, Lam khamen, Leenguipi, Magwikaju, Mah-kua-puang, Makueyphuong, Mai-mak-hku-sum, Marang, Mequasa, Moxiha, Muhahao, Myobyet-khayan, Ngbaku, Pako bhijri, Panthao khimkhatai gidiba, Pea eggplant, Plate-bush, Platebrush, Poka, Pokak, Rakhokha, Ranbaingan, Ranbhatai, Rangaini, Sahor pot, Sam tok, Shui gie, Sitabangko, Sondaegida, Soonday kai, Sundai, Sundaikai, Sundakkayi, Susumber, Takokak, Tangaiji, Tawkpui, Terong limbang, Terong pasay, Terong pipit puteh, Terong pipit, Terong rembang, Terongan, Terong setan, Teruk rimbong, Theso bongnai, Thesokumbong, Theso-rongman, Thulo bihi, Tit-began, Tiyung satik, Trab put lumnhong, Turkeyberry, Yamax-iha [1-4].

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda - Antigua, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central America*, China, Colombia, Congo DR, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba*, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Africa, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinée, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, Himalayas, Honduras, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kiribati, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico*, Micronesia, Montserrat, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Africa, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Peru, Puerto Rico*, SE Asia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sikkim, Singapore, South America, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, USA, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Africa, West Indies [1-4].

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.

Once established, S. torvum can, by sprouting from the roots, form dense thickets capable of overrunning farmlands and pastures, and of displacing native vegetation. Turkey berry can rapidly overtop most herbs, grasses and other shrubs but cannot survive under a closed forest canopy. The vicious spines on the stem and small prickles on the leaves, inhibit the free movement of people, livestock and wildlife [1-8].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Not Listed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Solanum aethiopicumMock Tomato, Ethiopian nightshadeShrub2.5 10-12  LMHNM322
Solanum ajanhuiriAjanhuiriPerennial0.0 9-11  LMHSNM20 
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Solanum andigenumAndigenaPerennial0.0 -  LMHNM20 
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Solanum boreale Perennial0.0 -  LMHNM10 
Solanum boyacense Perennial0.0 -  LMHNM10 
Solanum cari Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum carolinenseHorse Nettle, Carolina horsenettlePerennial1.0 3-7  LMHSNM021
Solanum chauchaChauchaPerennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
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Solanum fendleriWild Potato, Fendler's horsenettle, Texan horsenettlePerennial0.0 0-0  LMHNM32 
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Solanum juzepczukiiRuckiPerennial0.0 -  LMHSNM20 
Solanum kurzii Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum laciniatumKangaroo AppleShrub3.0 8-11  LMHNM222
Solanum linearifoliumMountain Kangaroo AppleShrub0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Solanum liximitante Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum luteum Annual0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum lycopersicumTomato, Garden TomatoAnnual2.0 10-12 FLMHNM533
Solanum lyratum Perennial Climber2.0 -  LMHNM12 
Solanum maglia Perennial0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Solanum melongenaAubergine, EggplantPerennial1.0 8-11  LMHNM32 
Solanum muricatumPepinoShrub1.0 8-11  LMHNM400
Solanum nigrumBlack Nightshade, Common Nightshade, Poisonberry, Black NightshadeAnnual0.6 0-0  LMHNDM222
Solanum paniculatumJurubeba, NightshadeShrub2.0 10-12 FLMHSNM040
Solanum phurejaPhureja, NightshadePerennial0.0 8-11  LMHSNM30 
Solanum piliferum Perennial0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Solanum pimpinellifoliumCurrant TomatoAnnual/Biennial1.0 10-12 FLMHNM422

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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