Egg Plant, Or Vegetable Egg, the popular name of a species of the solanaceoe (solatium melongena, Willd.), a native of North Africa. The plant grows to the height of about two feet, with a prickly stem, and with large ovate, downy, prickly leaves; flowers of a violet color, of some beauty; fruit, a globose berry, crowding itself out from the downy calyx, which remains until the fruit ripens, and the deep purple color it assumes indicates its perfection. Its size depends considerably upon richness of soil and warmth of climate; in propitious seasons it reaches several pounds1 weight. It is a favorite article of food in India and other hot countries, and is much used in the United States. It is generally served up in India with sugar and wine, and is used by the French and Italians in stews and soups. Another smaller species is S. ovigerum, having a white fruit of the size and appearance of a fowl's egg, chiefly cultivated as an ornamental curiosity, and sometimes reared in pots to secure the ripening, as a long season seems requisite at the north. The seeds of the egg plant should be sown on a slight hot-bed in March or early in April, and the plants should be transplanted in the latter part of May, or in June, in rich, warm ground, 2 1/2 ft. apart every way.
The soil should be frequently loosened with the hoe, and drawn up around the stems. Among the Chinese, S. AEthiopi-cum, having similar fruit, furnishes an ornamental dish on great occasions.
Egg Plant (Solanum melongena).