Solanum scabrum, also known as Garden Huckleberry is an annual or perennial. The origin of the species is uncertain, although Linnaeus attributed it to Africa, but it also occurs in North America, and is naturalized in many countries. In Africa it is cultivated as a leaf vegetable and for dye from the berries.
An annual or short-lived perennial herb to 1 m tall, hairless or sparsely hairy. The leaves are usually ovate, 7–12 cm long and 5–8 cm wide, with petioles 1.5–7 cm long. The inflorescence is simple or sometimes branched with 9–12 flowers. The white corolla is stellate, 15–20 mm diam., and sometimes tinged purple and with yellow/green basal star. The berries are globular, 10–17 mm diam., purple-black. The seeds are 1.8–2.2 mm long, pale or stained purple.
S.scabrum is grown as an edible leaf crop in Africa. It is the most intensively cultivated species for leaf cropping within the Solanum nigrum complex, and as such has undergone genetic selection by farmers for leaf size and other characteristics.
In Africa a stocky form of S.scabrum is cultivated as a dye crop using the ripe berries.
- Manoko,M.L.K.,van den Berg,R.G., Feron,R.M.C.,van der Weerden,G.M., Mariani,C., Genetic diversity of the African hexaploid species Solanum scabrum Mill. and Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae), Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, Volume 55, Number 3, 409-418.
- Factsheet Solanum scabrum, Flora of South Australia