Qaqata (Konsogna), A'ena (Wolayetgna),
Awitt (Amargna), Black nightshade (English)
The plant is an annual weed that grows
up to 60cm tall, is branched and usually erected, growing wild in wastelands
and crop fields. Alternate leaves are ovate deep green with an indented
margin and acuminate at the tip. Flowers are white with yellow coloured
centre. The berries are green at early stage and turn to orange or black
when ripened (see pictures below).
preparation methods and palatability
Fruits and leaves are edible. The
berries are collected and enjoyed by children in normal times while during
food shortage periods all affected people would eat berries. In addition
to the berries, women and children will collect the leaves that are cooked
in salty water and consumed like any other vegetable. But the leaves taste
bitter. Therefore, people stop consuming them when other foodstuff are
becoming available and crops get ready. Farmers in Konso reported that
the plant matures before maize gets ready and hence is used to fill the
gap before the harvest.If
solanium leaves are consumed regularly and several times a week, they may
develop stomach-ache. The stomach-ache is caused by the toxic glycoalkaloids
solanine and solanidine. The effects of solanine poisoning includes vomiting and
dizziness, mental confusion and loss of speech and can even result in blindness
(Schippers, 2000: p. 186).
R. Schippers (2000) reports that the nutritive value of nightshades depends on
many factors, including crop species , whether it was grown during the rainy
or the dry season, soil fertility etc. The age of the crop is also important
and leaves collected during the vegetative stage have a higher protein content
than those harvested from flowering onwards. The leaves contain an appreciable
amount of methionine. About 60% of the vitamins and many other micro-nutrients
can be lost
during the cooking process, especially when the water is being replaced to
reduce the bitterness. The fresh fruits of S. nigrum have a high
protein content and are rich in vitamin A.
Mostly grows in cultivated fields.
Found in the North-East, the Central Highlands, in the Arsi and Bale Highlands
and in the Southern Rift Valley between 1,600 - 2,400m.
Propagates by seeds.
Jarso Kebele, Konso
The berries are slightly toxic.
1 Parts of the following
description have been taken from Stroud A, Parker C, 1989: p. 222/223;
and Schippers R R, 2000: p. 176-192