Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is a plant in the nightshade (Solanaceae) family that is cultivated for food in Africa.
Cultivation in Kenya
In Kenya, the leaves are best during and immediately after the rains. The fruits are typically available in June-August and January-February. It's commonly found as a weed in cultivated fields, although it is also cultivated.
- "Uses: Food: Leaves widely used as a vegetable in Kenya. Normally cooked with amaranth (Pokot, Luo), meat or Cleome gynandra. Leaves are picked, boiled and may or may not be fried. As the vegetable is bitter, some prefer not to use salt. Among the Mijikenda the vegetable is mixed with less bitter vegetables such as amaranth, cowpeas and Vernonia cinerea. Normally eaten with ugali. The ripe orange fruits are edible. The black fruits of the highland forms are bitter and may be poisonous. The green berries may contain poisonous solanum alkaloids and should not be eaten. The densely hairy form is hardly used as food.
- "Medicinal: Unripe fruits applied to aching teeth (Makueni) and squeezed on baby's gums to ease pain during teething (Kajiado, Kitui). Leaves used for stomach-ache (Machakos). Leaves and fruits pounded and the extract used for tonsilitis (Machakos). Roots boiled in milk and given to childen as tonic (Maasai).
- "Other: Fodder for cattle and goats. Eaten and spread by birds."