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The wild spiny aubergine hunt

2 Posts tagged with the solanum_inaequiradians tag
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Market in Korogwe.jpg

Market in Korogwe, selling Solanum villosum (green vegetable) and Solanum aethiopicum (yellow and red fruits)

 

Bomandini is the classic tropical beach paradise. We drove down a dirt track to look for Solanum usaramense, collected there 50 years ago. Soil here is different, with pieces of coral with red sand and clay, and the forest looks greener, which may be a good sign. I showed a photograph of a similar plant to local boys, and they recognised it! Solanum usaramense was a tangled mass of dry spiny branches, with tiny new shoot growths, and no fruits or flowers. I would have never found it myself. Catelephoni Joni says the flowers appear after the rain, but goats love this plant and they eat flowers and fruits straight away so there is nothing left.

 

After collecting Solanum usaramense we rested and looked around the beautiful beach. Looking forward to tomorrow, West Usambara Mountains!

 

Catelephoni Joni.jpg

Catelephoni Joni holding Solanum usaramense – goats love it so no flowers or fruits are left.

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me-pressing-solanum.jpg

Me pressing a specimen of the Uluguru Mountain endemic Solanum inaequiradians

 

Today was very intense! We found Solanum dasyphyllum (growing in mountains all over Africa, with large and wide spiny leaves), Solanum stipitatostellatum (Tanzanian endemic with many curved spines, sterile), Solanum inaequiradians (Uluguru endemic never discovered on this mountain before, with long thread-like calyx lobes), Solanum schliebenii (very rare endemic with bizzare floppy bristles on the stem, we were hunting for it all day), and Solanum aethiopicum (the Scarlett Eggplant, commonly cultivated for food). We walked from 9pm to 7pm in 35 degrees C, up a steep slope, and I dont feel so great now. There are no roads up to the Tegetero forest and local villagers go up a narrow steep trail for many hours carrying bananas to the market. I fell down a slippery slope in the forest, and rolled downhill for about 5 metres, luckily it was soft and all I have is a few cuts. I would like to write more but I am too tired.

 

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Tegetero forest: we walked all the way up here!



mariavorontsova

mariavorontsova

Member since: Mar 18, 2010

I'm Maria Vorontsova from the Botany Department. Join me as I head to Tanzania and Kenya to hunt for wild spiny aubergines. I'm looking forward to an interesting journey, some interesting company and some interesting finds.

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