1a. Solanum nigrum var. nigrum
Vern.: ‘Mako, Kach-Mach.’
YASIN J. NASIR
Fl. Per. Mostly throughout the year.
Lectotype: Described from C. Asia. Hb. Linn. 248/18 (LINN).
Distribution: Cosmopolitan. being absent from the arctic and subarctic regions.
Much taxonomic confusion has centred on the Solanum nigrum complex, especially the treatment of the black and orange-red berried forms. Most authors (Hawkes & Edmonds, 1972; Schoenbeck-Temesy 1972; Baytop, 1978: Hara et al. 1982. Enum. of the Flow. Pl. Nep. 3:111.). regard the black berried plants as distinct. Workers dealing with the Indo-Pakistan continent have treated both different colored berried forms under Solanum nigrum s.l. Some recent work by Bhaduri (1983, Ind. Bot. Soc. 12.56.64). Tandon & Rao (1966, Current Science. 20.324-325) and Rao, Khan & Khan (1971, Mag. Univ. Tokyo. 88:335-338) have shown that variation in Solanum nigrum group (at least for the subcontinent) is often of a continuous nature and the characters show intergrading.
In the numerous specimens I have observed of Solanum nigrum in the field there is an important distinguishing character: The black berried plants have peduncles longer than pedicels, as compared to the orange or orange-red berried plants, where the peduncles tend to be shorter or equalling the pedicel.
The fruit is edible. The young shoots are cooked as a pot herb. Plant parts contain the alkaloid solanine. The juice of the plant is diuretic, and used in the treatment of enlarged livers (Dymoc, Reprint edit. 1972, Pharm., Ind. 2.301).