Yellow-vented Bulbul eating terong pipit

posted in: Feeding-plants | 1

Choo Teik Ju sent in an image of a Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) eating the fruit of a Solanum plant. The plant can either be S. americanum or S. torvum, probably the latter. Both are common weeds, growing into scrambling shrubs, bearing bunches of globular berries that turn yellow with ripening. S. torvum or terong pipit is eaten either raw or cooked as a vegetable. The small fruits are eaten in Thai curries.

The plants belong to the same family (Solanaceae) that gives us brinjal or eggplant (S. melongena).

The deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) also belongs to the same family. In ancient times the juice of the deadly nightshade fruit is used to dilate the pupils of high society Greek and Roman ladies, creating a dreamy stare that was then fashionable. The plant was often added to wine and served at orgies to induce wanton behaviour among the participants. The atropine alkaloid contained in the plant is extremely poisonous, often used as a main ingredient in the concoctions of witches and sorcerers of old.

Reference:
Wee, Y.C. (2005). Plants that heal, thrill and kill. SNP Reference, Singapore. 172pp.

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