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Solanum melongena

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.
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Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds. To avoid a decline in viability, remove seeds from ripe fruits soon after harvest and allow to dry slowly, under ambient conditions, before transferring to a cool dry room. Dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand, under alternating temperature regimes of 30/20ºC or 35/20ºC (with an 8/16hr photoperiod). It may be necessary to add 250 mg/l gibberellic acid or 101 mg/l potassium nitrate to the germination medium to encourage germination.

The seeds of this species are expected to be Physiologically Dormant (based on other species in the same genus). If germination is low, this type of seed dormancy can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat. Use a moist pre-chill or pre-heat treatment (depending on local climatic conditions) or a dry after-ripening treatment, before germinating the seeds on agar, germination paper or sand at their optimum temperature. If this does not work, you can perform delicate surgery to enable the embryo to grow. Excise the tissue near the root tip.

Seed Morphology

The fruit (5-15 cm) is a large, pendent berry. It is ovoid, oblong or obovoid in shape and smooth and shiny. The fruit can display a wide range of colours (white, green, pink, purple, violet or black) and patterns, depending on the presence of anthocyanins and chlorophylls in the fruit coat. The seeds are numerous and small.

The seeds are light brown at maturity.

See images of this species at VIRBOGA (The Virtual Botanic Garden) and at the  Digital Atlas of Economic Plants.



Accepted nameSolanum melongena L.

SynonymsSolanum esculentum var. inerme Dunal, Solanum melongena var. inerme (Dunal) Hiern, Solanum esculentum Dunal, Solanum insanum L., Solanum ovigerum Dunal

Common name: aubergine, eggplant

References and Links

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • International Seed Testing Association (2010). International Rules for Seed Testing: edition 2010. ISTA, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.
  • Janick, J. and Paull, R.E. (eds) (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CAB International, UK.
  • Purseglove, J.W. (1968). Tropical Crops: dicotyledons. Longman Group Ltd., UK.
  • Rao, N.K., Hanson, J., Dulloo, M.E., Ghosh, K., Nowell, D. and Larinde, M. (2006). Manual of seed handling in genebanks. Handbooks for Genebanks No. 8. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Solanum melongena.
  • AVRDC - The World Vegetable Centre, Taiwan: fact sheet on Solanum melongena.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Solanum melongena.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Solanum melongena.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Solanum melongena.