PEA EGGPLANT, Kitley
Seeds per pack ~ 35
Germination: BELOW STANDARD
"Kitiley' (or 'Kitterly' or 'Kitley'), also known as 'African Pea Eggplant', is a popular traditional vegetable from West Africa. This one is from Liberia, and comes to Ujamaa from the Experimental Farm Network. 'Kitiley' is quite uncommon here in the US. Native to tropical Africa, it has been spread by people to the Arabian peninsula and India, among other places. The small fruits ripen to orange-red, but when they're still young and green they're used as a vegetable with a bitter taste.
In West African countries including Ghana, Cameroon, and Liberia, it's very popular in certain communities. Interestingly, like its cousin the eggplant (Solanum melongena), there exist wild and weedy forms that are covered in spines, along with primitive domesticated versions with fewer spines, and more modern domesticated types with no spines at all. We haven't found any spines on this one, so imagine it must be the product of many generations of selection by farmers in West Africa. It has likely been bred for optimal flavor too.
This species often grows as a weed in farmers' fields, but it is frequently allowed to stick around while other weeds are removed because it produces free food with no extra work. From our experience growing 'Kitiley', which is tall and somewhat spindly and doesn't produce broad leaves that might shade out other crops, it seems like it would be a pretty unobtrusive weed, so we can understand why farmers don't object to its presence. This also points to how it may have been domesticated as well.
Solanum anguivi is known to have many medicinal applications, with the fruits used fresh or dried as a medication for high blood pressure, chest pains, or coughs, and the root used for toothaches. We're very excited to be able to provide this plant to West African immigrants and others who miss this taste of home, along with anyone else who would like to get to know this interesting plant. GROWING TIPS: Grow just as you would eggplants."