Pea Eggplant (Solanum torvum)
For all families looking for a fresh take on ‘eating your peas,’ give nutrient-rich plant Solanum torvum a try. Pea eggplant is a species of the Solanum genus that includes major world crops, like the potato, tomato, and eggplant. Similarly, pea eggplant is cultivated and enjoyed throughout the world, as it is easy to grow and a good source of iron and calcium. The plant is an evergreen shrub, native to Tropical America, Africa, and some parts of Asia, where it thrives with little to no maintenance or irrigation. It’s simple to grow in subtropical to tropical regions like Florida, but keep in mind when planning your garden layout that this plant grows very fast and vigorously but it’s growth can easily be maintained in a container.
Solanum torvum’s handful of common names like ‘pea eggplant, turkey berry, devil’s fig, and Thai eggplant’ were coined for the plant’s fruits: It produces clusters of small, green, marble-sized eggplants. For use in cooking, pea eggplants are picked slightly immature and cooked into a plethora of dishes throughout southeast Asia and beyond to the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
Gardener Pro Tip: Use Solanum torvum as a rootstock to boost the health of your new eggplant and tomato plants! Solanum torvum grows disease free, with a vigorous nematode resistant root system. This makes it a viable rootstock for grafting other Solanum cultivars, helping long-term tolerance for flood, pests, diseases, and more.