Forest Bitterberry
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Forest Bitterberry
P Native Unknown Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Forest Bitterberry, African Eggplant • Hindi: Barhanta • Malayalam: Cheruchunda, Putharichunda • Marathi: Amb-keli • Nepali: थुलो विहिन Thoolo Bihin • Sanskrit: Sanskrit Brihati, Simhi • Mizo: Samtawkte • Angami: Ciepfhu, Ciepfu
Botanical name: Solanum anguivi    Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)
Synonyms: Solanum lividum, Solanum indicum var. lividum

Forest Bitterberry is a prickly undershrub, 1.5-2 m tall, with dense woolly parts. Prickles are up to 1 cm long, erect to slightly recurved. Leaves are 4-15 x 3.5-9 cm, ovate to oblong-ovate, with wavy margins, pointed, both surfaces star-shapedly hairy and prickly on the nerves. Leaf-stalk up to 2.5 cm long. Flowers are 4-15 in number, bluish-purple, in leaf-axils cymes. Calyx is 4 mm long, bell-shaped, star-shapedly hairy. Flower limb is 1.8-2.0 cm broad; petals pointed. Anthers 6-7 mm long; filaments hairless. Ovary and style hairy-velvet-hairy. Berry is spherical, 8-10 mm broad, becoming hairless, yellow. Forest Bitterberry is found in S & SE Asia, Arabia and tropical Africa. The edible fruits are often gathered from the wild for local use. It is a semi-cultivated vegetable.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Kumbharli Ghat area, Maharashtra.

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