002 Solanum nigrum L.
Nome comune: Erba morella; Pomidorella; Ballerina;
Solanum nigrum (European Black Nightshade or locally just "black nightshade", Duscle, Garden Nightshade, Hound's Berry, Petty Morel, Wonder Berry, Small-fruited black nightshade or popolo) is a species in the Solanum genus, native to Eurasia and introduced in the Americas, Australasia and South Africa.
Black nightshade is a fairly common herb or short-lived perennial shrub, found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats. It has a height of 30–120 cm (12-48"), leaves 4-7.5 cm (1 1/2-3") long) and 2–5 cm wide (1-2 1/2"); ovate to heart-shaped, with wavy or large-toothed edges; both surfaces hairy or hairless; petiole 1–3 cm (1/2-1") long with a winged upper portion. The flowers have petals greenish to whitish, recurved when aged and surround prominent bright yellow anthers. The berry is mostly 6–8 mm (1/4-3/4") diam., dull black or purple-black. In India, another strain is found with berries that turn red when ripe.
Sometimes Solanum nigrum is confused for deadly nightshade, a different Solanaceae species altogether.
In India, the berries are casually grown and eaten; but not cultivated for commercial use. The berries are referred to as "fragrant tomato," or ??????????? - manathakkaali in Tamil, Kamanchi in Sanskrit and Telugu, and makoi in Hindi. Although not very popular across much of its growing region, the fruit and dish are common in Northern Tamil Nadu, Southern Andhra and Southern Karnataka. In North India, the boiled extracts of leaves and berries are also used to alleviate the patient's discomfort in liver-related ailments, including jaundice.
In Ethiopia, the ripe berries are picked and eaten by children in normal times, while during famines all affected people would eat berries. In addition the leaves are collected by women and children, who cook the leaves in salty water and consumed like any other vegetable. Farmers in the Konso Special Woreda report that because S. nigrum matures before the maize is ready for harvesting, it is used as a food source until their crops are ready. The Welayta people of the adjacent Semien Omo Zone do not weed out S. nigrum that appear in their gardens since they likewise cook and eat the leaves.
In South Africa, the very ripe and hand-selected fruit (nastergal in Afrikaans and umsobo in Zulu) is cooked into a beautiful but quite runny purple jam.
In Greece the leaves are one of the ingredients included in the salad of boiled greens known as horta.
In Indonesia, the young fruit is eaten raw as part of a traditional salad 'lalapan' or cooked with oncom and chillies.
The plant has a long history of medicinal usage, dating back to ancient Greece. This plant is also known as Peddakasha pandla koora in Telangana region. This plant's leaves are used to treat mouth ulcers that happen during winter periods of Tamil Nadu, India. Chinese experiments confirm that the plant inhibits growth of cervical carcinoma (Fitoterapia, 79, 2008, ? 7-8, 548-556).