Vegetables II

Volume 2 of the series Handbook of Plant Breeding pp 163-220


  • Marie-Christine DaunayAffiliated withUnité de Génétique & Amélioration des Fruits et Légumes, INRA

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Solanum melongena L. (known as eggplant in the United States and aubergine in France and England) is one of the few cultivated solanaceous species originating from the Old World. It is known as brinjal in its home country, India, where it was domesticated long ago and where the greatest diversity is found. Widely grown in temperate and tropical Asian countries, eggplant has been also a common crop in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean basin and is now cultivated worldwide. The ethno-botanical history of eggplant is quite fascinating given its uses as food crop, medicine, and ornamental by Ancient (Indian) and Medieval (Arabic and European) civilizations, and the diverse beliefs surrounding its use including aphrodisical properties and various malevolent and benevolent effects. In the beginning of the 21st century, the health values of eggplant are being revived once again based on phenolic and alkaloid content.