Wild Egg plant
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Other names: thorn apple, bitter apple, bitterball and bitter tomato.
IUCN red list status: least concern
Local status: least concern
Solanum incanum is a species belonging to the Solanaceae family, it is known commonly as a bitter apple. It is native to the Middle East, Africa, and India.
The life form of this plant is herbaceous or soft wooded shrub that reaches up to 1.8 m in height, the stem has spines. The leaves are alternate, egg-shaped in outline with a broad end at the base. The flowers are often tolerated in the leaf axils, sometimes solitary or in clusters of a few flowers. The fruits are globular-shaped with yellow color at the beginning, changing to black in ripenin.
Habitats: Mainly as a weed of cultivation, around old habitations and overgrazed grassland, also extending into forest edges, riverine vegetation, and various types of woodland. The plant is toxic, as all Solanum species contain greater or lesser quantities of solanine and solanidine, these are bitter tasting and potentially poisonous when consumed frequently. The fruits are used as an ingredient for arrow poisons and fish poisons
. The plant is especially valued for its analgesic properties and it is commonly used in Africa to treat a wide range of conditions, including a sore throat, angina, stomachache, colic, headache, painful menstruation, and liver pain, and rheumatism. It is used locally as leaf paste, root infusions or the pounded fruits are rubbed into scarifications, the leaf sap is used for washing painful areas, and ash of burnt plants is mixed with fat and applied as an ointment, The boiled fruits are used as soap and in tanning leather.
This species is distributed almost every habitat in Palestine including roadsides and as weeds in fields.