4. Solanum spirale Roxburgh, Fl. Ind. 2: 247. 1824.
旋花茄 xuan hua qie
Solanum spirale var. tetrasepalum H. Chu.
Shrubs glabrescent. Stems erect, 0.5-3 m tall, drying grooved angled. Leaves unequal paired; petiole 5-10 mm; blade of major leaf narrowly elliptic to elliptic, 9-22 × 4-11 cm, glabrous adaxially, with tufts of hairs in axils of main veins abaxially, base attenuate, margin entire, apex acuminate; blade of minor leaf resembling that of major leaf, 5-7 × 1.6-3 cm. Inflorescences leaf opposed or extra-axillary, short, simple scorpioid racemes; peduncle 3-12 mm, later bearing conspicuous pedicel scars. Pedicel 1.5-2.5 cm, deflexed at anthesis. Calyx 2-3 mm, (4- or) 5-lobed; lobes deltate, 0.5-1 mm. Corolla white, 8-10 mm, lobed ca. 3/4 way to base. Filaments ca. 1 mm; anthers 3-3.5 mm. Ovary glabrous. Style ca. 7 mm. Fruiting pedicel deflexed. Berry dull yellow-orange, globose, 1.1-1.6 cm in diam. Seeds yellow or tan, reniform-discoid, 3-3.5 × 2.5-3 mm. Fl. May-Jul, fr. Jun-Dec.
Thickets, streamsides, wastelands; 500-1900 m. Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Xizang, Yunnan [India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam; Australia]
The young leaves are locally eaten in Yunnan and India as a vegetable, and the roots are used as an anaesthetic and diuretic.
Variety tetrasepalum was established mainly on the basis of having 4-merous flowers. These occasionally occur in many species of Solanum, including S. spirale.