Solanum torvum Sw., Prodr. 47 (1788)

Latin for 'grim-looking', referring to the spines on the stem.


The plant is usually 2 or 3 m in height and 2 cm in basal diameter, but may reach 5m in height and 8 cm in basal diameter. The shrub usually has a single stem at ground level, but it may branch on the lower stem. The stem bark is gray and nearly smooth with raised lenticels. The inner bark has a green layer over an ivory color. The plants examined by the author, growing on firm soil, had weak taproots and well-developed laterals. The roots are white. Foliage is confined to the growing twigs. The twigs are gray-green and covered with starshaped hairs. The spines are short and slightly curved and vary from thick throughout the plant, including the leaf midrib, to entirely absent. The leaves are opposite or one per node, broadly ovate with the border entire or deeply lobed. The petioles are 1 to 6 cm long and the blades are 7 to 23 by 5 to 18 cm and covered with short hairs. The flowers are white, tubular with 5 pointed lobes, and grouped in corymbiform cymes. They are shed soon after opening. The fruits are berries that grow in clusters of tiny green spheres (ca. 1 cm in diameter) that look like green peas. They become yellow when fully ripe. They are thin-fleshed and contain numerous flat, round, brown seeds. [From Wikipedia]

In heavily disturbed, open landscapes, along roads, along rivers, along beaches and up mountains to 2000 m altitude. Often on alluvial sites and along rivers and streams, but also common on dry sites. On sandy soils.

The roots are used to treat yellow fever. The fruits are eaten (for example as an ingredient of sambal). The green fresh fruits are edible and used in Thai cuisine, being one of the essential elements of the Thai green curry. They are also used in Lao cuisine. The fruits are incorporated into soups and sauces in the Cote d'Ivoire. In Tamil Nadu, India, the fruit is consumed directly, or as cooked food like Sundaikkai Sambar, Sundaikkai Poriyal, Sundaikkai Aviyal & Sundaikkai Pulikulambu. After soaking in curd and drying, the final product is fried in oil as Sundaikkai vattral (available in all Tamil Nadu supermarkets), it is famous all around in Tamil Nadu. In siddha medicine on of the traditional systems of India Sundaivattral Choornam is used to improve digestion.

Originally from the Neotropics, but currently pan-tropical. In Borneo found throughout the island.

Local names
Borneo: Bintorung, Buah ulam, Terong limbang, Terong pasay, Terong pipit, Tiyung satik.
English: Devil's Fig, Prickly Nightshade, Shoo-shoo Bush, Wild Eggplant, Pea Eggplant, Pea Aubergine.