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Solanum phoxocarpum (osigawai)

Solanum phoxocarpum is a spiny African tree with bright yellow pointed fruits that may have medicinal properties.
Branch of Solanum phoxocarpum with unusual pointed fruits and almost no lobes on the leaves

Branch of Solanum phoxocarpum, with unusual pointed fruits and almost no lobes on the leaves, in the Aberdare Mountains, Kenya. Nobody knows what kinds of animals eat these fruits.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Solanum phoxocarpum Voronts.

Common name: 

osigawai, sigawet (Masai language, Kenya)

Conservation status: 

Not yet assessed according to IUCN criteria.

Habitat: 

Open montane woodlands.

Key Uses: 

Medicinal, hedging, possibly edible.

Known hazards: 

It seems that the fruits could be poisonous – in 2009 a staff member on the Kenya ‘Seeds for Life’ project was preparing seeds for storage and became unwell after inhaling the vapours from cut fruits.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Asteranae
Order: 
Solanalaes
Family: 
Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum

About this species

One of the wild spiny aubergine species of Africa, Solanum phoxocarpum is a shrub or small tree that grows at high altitudes in Kenyan and Tanzanian mountains. It can grow up to six metres tall, and has unusual long, yellow, pointed fruits and mauve flowers. It was recognised as a new species by Kew botanist Dr Maria Vorontsova during fieldwork in Kenya’s Aberdare Mountains in April 2009.

Genus: 
Solanum

main info

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