Carew, H. John Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
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A warm-season vegetable (Solanum melongena) of Asiatic origin belonging to the plant order Solanales (formerly Polemoniales). Eggplant is grown for its usually egg-shaped flesh fruit (see illustration), which is eaten as a cooked vegetable. Cultural practices are similar to those used for tomatoes and peppers; however, eggplant is more sensitive to low temperatures. Popular purple-fruited varieties (cultivars) are Black Beauty, Black Magic, and a number of hybrid varieties. Fruits of other colors, including white, brown, yellow, and green, are used chiefly for ornamental purposes. Harvesting generally begins 70–80 days after planting. In the United States, the most important eggplant-producing areas are Georgia, Florida, California, New Jersey, and New York. See also: Horticultural crops; Pepper; Solanales; Tomato
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