Herb: Garden Huckleberry


Latin name: Solanum scabrum


Synonyms: Solanum intrusum, Solanum melanocerasum, Solanum nigrum guineense


Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)



Medicinal use of Garden Huckleberry:

The whole plant is antiperiodic, antiphlogistic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, febrifuge, narcotic, purgative and sedative. It is harvested in the autumn when both flowers and fruit are upon the plant, and is dried for later use. Use with caution, see notes above on toxicity. The leaves, stems and roots are used in the treatment of cancerous sores, leucoderma and wounds. Extracts of the plant are analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and vasodilator. The plant has been used in the manufacture of locally analgesic ointments and the juice of the fruit has been used as an analgesic for toothaches.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
July to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Garden Huckleberry:

Fruit - cooked. Used in preserves, jams and pies. A pleasant musky taste. Only the fully ripe fruits should be used, the unripe fruits contain the toxin solanine. Often cooked with some baking soda first in order to remove any bitterness. The fruit contains about 2.5% protein, 0.6% fat, 5.6% carbohydrate, 1.2% ash. The fruit is up to 12mm in diameter. Young leaves and new shoots - raw or cooked as a potherb or added to soups. See notes at the top of the page regarding possible toxicity.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in situ. The seed can also be sown in a greenhouse during the spring if required since this will normally produce larger crops of fruit. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out in late spring.

Cultivation of Garden Huckleberry:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Solanum scabrum:

There is a lot of disagreement over whether or not the leaves or fruit of this plant are poisonous. Views vary from relatively poisonous to perfectly safe to eat. The plant is cultivated as a food crop, both for its fruit and its leaves, in some parts of the world and it is probably true to say that toxicity can vary considerably according to where the plant is grown and the cultivar that is being grown. The unripe fruit contains the highest concentration of toxins.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.