Journey towards eFlora of India: Small steps

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Gurcharan Singh

Jun 13, 2010, 9:17:12 AM6/13/10
to efloraofindia

Journey towards eFlora of India: Small  steps


Some days back I had written to Tabish ji about status of our databases and journey towards the preparation of eFlora of India. We seem to have reached collecting some data concerning roughly 20 per cent of Indian Flora. A rich eFlora should have a few photographs of each species (the major strength of our eFlora project), descriptions of species (already a part of Flowers of India, but some elaboration needed), Correct nomenclature status (partially achieved, authorities and references need be entered). Our databases also have added strength of having local names of plants in different languages. To my mind two major activities need to be undertaken:

1.     1.   Preparation of list of species under each genus reported in India (wild as well as cultivated) so that members can focus on the remaining species and upload their photographs to ensure complete representation of each genus.

2.     2.  To prepare easy identification keys for the species reported from India, to help members and surfers easy identification of species

The situation with regard to present documentation of Indian Flora is that we still have to depend on regional Floras, and older these get, less reliable they become. There is no better example than the genus Solanum, which has been focus of our attention periodically and recently enthusiastic efforts of Yazdy ji (who says that only trained taxonomists, with sound knowledge of technical details only can contribute to our floristic knowledge?, we have to learn a lot from persons like him; Garg ji, Dinesh ji, Tabish ji and several other veterans have already proved that) and Raghu ji uploading many photographs. I begin with this genus building up taxonomic status of species, and request other members to suggest improvements so that we know species representation in our subcontinent. You may please look up in recent revisions, local floras and suggest species that needs to be added. I have tentatively grouped them for easy reference and identification.

A.      Herbs without prickles

1.      1.  Solanum nigrum L.:BLACK NIGHTSHADE, COMMON HIGHTSHADE-- Mature berries black, globose, 8-10 mm across; peduncles almost twice as long as pedicels; fruiting calyx appressed to fruit; corolla 8-10 mm across; anthers 2.5-3.5 mm long.

2.    2.  Solanum villosum (L.) Moench. (syn: Solanum nigrum L. var. villosum L.; eFlora of Pak.; S. alatum Moench.; S. luteum Mill; S. miniatum Bernh. Ex Willd.; s. nigrum auct. (non L.)): RED NIGHTSHADE--Mature berries orange to orange-red, ovoid, 6-8 mm across; peduncles shorter than or equaling pedicels; anthers 2 mm long.

3.    3. Solanum americanum Mill. (syn: S. nigrum sensu Trimen Handb. Fl. Ceylone 3: 231, 1895): AMERICAN NIGHTSHADE--Mature berries black, globose, 5-8 mm across; peduncle twice as long as pedicels; fruiting calyx spreading; corolla 3-5 mm across; anthers 1-1.5 mm long.

4.     4.   Solanum lycopersicum L. (syn: Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.): TOMATO--Leaves pinnate compound; flowers yellow; calyx enlarging in fruit.

5.     5.  Solanum tuberosus L.: Potato-- plants tuberous; leaves pinnate; flowers white or purplish

B.      Herbs with Prickles

6.      6.  Solanum mammosum L. : MACAWBUSH, NIPLEFRUIT--densely hairy and prickly herb; flowers mauve; fruits ovoid-oblong, 4-7 cm long, yellow, pointed, with several lobes near base

7.      7.  Solanum sisymbrifolium Lam.: DENSE-THORN-BITTER-APPLE, STICKY NIGHTSHADE--Prickly herb, leaves deeply pinnately lobed; flowers white; fruit bright red, globose, 1-1.5 cm, enclosed in prickly calyx.

C.      Herbs with woody base armed or unarmed

8.      8. Solanum melanogena L.: EGG PLANT : Usually anarmed, sometimes armed especially in wild; flocosse-pubescent; leaves sinuate; flowers usually solitary, rarely few-flowered; corolla 2-4 cm across, bluish; fruits globose or ovoid, more than 3 cm long.

9.       9. Solanum integrifolium Poir.: TOMATO EGG PLANT, SCARLET EGG PLANT--Bushy herb, prickles hooked; plant scurfy; leaves sinuately lobed; flowers white, in clusters of 2-6, 2 cm across; fruit globose, scarlet or yellow, 4-6 cm across. 

D.      Climbers without prickles

10.   10. Solanum laxum Spreng (syn: S. jasminoides Paxt.): POTATO-VINE, JASMINE NIGHTSHADE--Leaves simple, sometimes lobed at base; flowers white or tinged blue.

11.   11. Solanum dulcamara L.: EUROPEAN BITTERSWEET—leaves simple, entire or 3-lobed at base; fls. Violet spotted with green, 11-13 mm across; fruit ovoid, scarlet, 8-10 mm across.

12.   12. Solanum seaforthianum Andr. (syn: S. venustum Kunth): BRAZILIAN NIGHTSHADE, POTATO CREEPER-- Leaves pinnate; flowers lilac; fruits small, globose, bright red.

E.       Climbers with prickles

13.   13. Solanum wendlandii Hook.f.:  COSTA RICAN NIGHTSHADE, GIANT POTATO CREEPER, PARADISE FLOWER--Leaves pinnate, prickles curved; flowers lilac, 5-6 cm across; fruit globose. 

F.       Shrubs without prickles, flowers white

14.   14. Solanum pseudo-capsicum L.: JERUSALEM-CHERRY---Glabrous shrub; leaves narrow-oblong to oblanceolate, entire; peduncle almost absent; fls 1-3 together, white, 1-1.5 cm across,; fruit 1-2 cm across, scarlet or orange.

15.   15. Solanum diphyllum L.: TWOLEAF NIGHTSHADE—Glabrous hrubLeaves elliptic , in unequal pairs; peduncle distinct 3-12 mm long; flowers more than 3, white, 4-6 mm across; fruit erect, orange, 7-12 mm across, slightly bilobed.

16.   16. Solanum erianthum D. Don (syn: S. verabscifolium L.): Big eggplant, China flowerleaf—Single-stemmed shrub or small tree; leaves towards tips of branches, with yellowish stellate hairs; inflorescence bifurcating, felted; flowers creamy white; fruit globose, 1 cm across, yellow covered with stellate hairs

G.     Shrubs without  prickles, flowers blue or purple

17.   17. Solanum pubescens Willd. Small shrub with ashy-grey tomentum; four anthers 4 mm long, one almost 8 mm; fruit globose, glossy red, 1.5 cm across.

18.   18. Solanum mauritianum Scop. (syn: s. auriculatum Ait.): Bug tree, Wild tomato tree—Shrub or small tree, branches and leaves, grey-green, not silvery white; leaf axils with small auricle-like leaves; corolla blue, 9-11 mm across; fruit globose, 1.5 cm across, orange-yellow, densely stellate pubescent.

19.   19. Solanum kurzii Brace—Small tree with stellate tomentum; leaves lobed; fls 8-10 mm across, purple.

H.      Shrubs with prickles , prickles straight, without broad base; flowers white

20.  20.  Solanum capsicoides All. (syn: S. aculeatissimum Clarke in FBI 4:237 (non. Jacq.); S. ciliatum Lam.): COCKROACH-BERYY, DEVILS’ APPLE--Small shrub not taller than 50 cm; prickles straight, needle-like; leaves acutely lobed; calyx prickly; corolla 6 mm across; fruit globose 2.5 cm across, pale green with dark green markings, orange red at maturity.

21.   21. Solanum lasiocarpum Scop. (syn: S. ferox Clarke FBI 4:233 (non L.); S. straminifolium Gandhi & Saldanha Fl Hassan Dist. 462 (non Jacq.)): INDIAN NIGHTSHADE, MAO QUI—Shrub with long straight prickles, densely pubescent; leaves up to 40 cm long with short triangular lobes; infl. Few-fld; corolla 1.2 cm across, white; fruit globose 2-3 cm across, orange, densely covered with hairs.

I.        Shrubs with prickles, prickles curved with broad base; flowers white

22.  22.  Solanum torvum Sw.: DEVIL’ FIG, PEA EGGPLANT, TURKEYBERRY—branches stellate hairy; leaves coarsely sinuate, unequal sided at base; inflorescence with numerous flowers, dichotomous; flowers 2-2.5 cm across, white; fruit 8-12 mm across, globose, yellow turning orange.

23.   23. Solanum anguivi Lam. (syn: S. distichum Schum.; S. indicum auct. (non L.); S. sodomeum L.); Shrub with spreading branches; prickles few, short; stellate hairy; leaves elliptical-ovate or with 2–4 pairs of lobes, base oblique; fls in raceme-like cyme, 5–15-flowered; corolla 6–12 mm across, white, occasionally with pale purple veins on the outer surface; fruit subglobose, 7–18 mm, green or white when young, red when ripe, in clusters of up to 20 fruits.

24.   24. Solanum hispidum Pers.: DEVILS’ FIG—Hispid shrub or tree, prickles curved down; leaves deeply pinnately lobed, ferruginous; corolla white, 3 cm across; fruit globose, 15 mm across, yellowish brown.

25.   25. Solanum aculeatissimum Jacq. (syn: S. khasianum Cl.): DUTCH EGGPLANT, LOVE APPLE—Shrub hirsute with long soft hairs, prickles up to 2 cm long, with broad base, straight or slightly curved; leaves deeply lobed; corolla white or pink, 2 cm across; berry globose, 2-3 cm across, pale yellow.

26.   26. Solanum viarum Dunal (syn: S. khasianum Cl. var. chatterjeanum S. Gupta): TROPICAL SODA APPLE—Small shrub with glandular hairs; prickles up to 5 mm long, curved as well straight; infl 1-5 fld, peduncle reduced; corolla white; berry pale yellow, 2-3 cm across.

J.        Shrubs with prickles, prickles straight; flowers blue or violet

27.  27.  Solanum virginianum L. (syn: S. xanthocarpum Schrad. & Wendl.; S. surattense Burm.f.): YELLOW FRUIT NIGHTSHADE—Small prickly shrub up to 40 cm; prickles straight yellow; leaves deeply lobed, greenish and glabrescent; fls 2 cm across, violet; fruit globose, yellow, 2 cm across.

K.      Shrubs with prickles, prickles curved with broad base; flowers blue or purple

28.  28.  Solanum violaceum  Ortega (syn: Solanum indicum Clarke in FBI 4: 234 (non L.); Slender shrub with short curved prickles; leaves lobed, unequal at base; corolla-blue-purple, 2-2.5 cm  across; fruit, globose, orange, 1 cm across.

29.   29. Solanum trilobatum L.: Scrambling shrub, prickles curved; leaves obtusely 3-5 lobed; infl. 3-9 fld; corolla purple, 2-3cm  across; fruit globose, 1.5 cm across, scarlet.

L.       Shrubs with prickles on stem, not on leaves

30.   30. Solanum giganteum Jacq.: African holly—Single-stemmed tree-like; prickles stout, short; leaves oblong-lanceolate, entire, glossy above, silvery-white beneath; cymose clusters on 2-3 cm long peduncle; flowers mauve, ca 1 cm across; fruit 9-11 mm across, globose, glossy red when mature.

31.   31. Solanum gracilipes Decne—small shrub, hairs stellate; leaves small, about 4 cm long, cordate; infl. 1-3 fld; fls 2 cm across.



Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Retired  Associate Professor
SGTB Khalsa College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007
Res: 932 Anand Kunj, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018.
Phone: 011-25518297  Mob: 9810359089

Rajesh Sachdev

Jun 13, 2010, 9:24:04 AM6/13/10
to efloraindia
Singh Sahib,
If completed, the eflora india would be most document aspect of Indian Bio-diversity after birds & mammals.

Rajesh Sachdev

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tanay bose

Jun 13, 2010, 9:35:28 AM6/13/10
to Gurcharan Singh, efloraofindia
Thanks for the hard work Sir Ji

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Tanay Bose
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R. Vijayasankar

Jun 13, 2010, 12:08:55 PM6/13/10
to tanay bose, Gurcharan Singh, efloraofindia
Great beginning Gurcharan ji!
Thanks for all the efforts and committments! Let it keep going till we achieve the eFlora of India.

With regards

R. Vijayasankar

Yazdy Palia

Jun 13, 2010, 12:49:19 PM6/13/10
to Gurcharan Singh, efloraofindia
Devotion! Thy name is Dr. Gurcharan Singh ji.

On Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 6:47 PM, Gurcharan Singh <> wrote:

Satish Phadke

Jun 13, 2010, 12:59:59 PM6/13/10
to Gurcharan Singh, efloraofindia
That is just Great !!

On 13 June 2010 18:47, Gurcharan Singh <> wrote:

Rashida Atthar

Jun 18, 2010, 5:58:34 AM6/18/10
to Satish Phadke, Gurcharan Singh, efloraofindia
Thanks a lot Sir for the great efforts in putting this complicated family together.  I think if we can put the correct pictures with them, than it will be complete.  


promila chaturvedi

Jun 18, 2010, 7:59:54 AM6/18/10
to Rashida Atthar, Satish Phadke, Gurcharan Singh, efloraofindia
Congrats. Prof. Singh. It is really engrossing.

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