Solanum phoxocarpum (osigawai)
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.
Solanum phoxocarpum Voronts.
osigawai, sigawet (Masai language, Kenya)
Not yet assessed according to IUCN criteria.
Open montane woodlands.
Medicinal, hedging, possibly edible.
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.
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.