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HORT410 - Vegetable Crops

Eggplant - Notes

Eggplant flower image by David Rhodes

  • Common name: eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal
  • Latin name: Solanum melongena L. var. esculentum.
  • Family name: Solanaceae [Solanaceae Images].
  • Related species grown as vegetables: potato, tomato, and pepper.
  • Diploid (2n = 24).
  • Harvested organ: immature fruit.
  • Origin: India and China.
  • Brought to N. America by early European settlers.
  • Eggplant history (TAMU).
  • Commercial production for fresh market in the U.S.A. is limited to a relatively few states; Florida and New Jersey.
  • In 1997, eggplant was produced on 1,700 acres in Florida, with a total yield of 544,000 cwt (yield per acre = 320 cwt/acre) and a total value of $14,144,000 (cf. New Jersey -- 900 acres; 194,000 cwt; 215 cwt/acre; $3,414,000).
  • Perennial, typically grown as a frost-susceptible, warm season annual.
  • Usually started from seed in a greenhouse then transplanted to the field.
  • Often grown on plastic mulch.
  • Optimum temperature: 21 to 29 C.
  • Optimum soil pH: 6.0 to 6.8. Eggplant image by Patrick J. Rich
  • Varieties most commonly grown in the U.S. have dark purple fruit.
  • Small-fruited, variously colored varieties (including white) are available.
  • Fruit shape ranges from globular to elongated to pear.
  • Fruit harvested by hand.
  • Fruit is chilling sensitive and should not be stored below 10 C
  • A problematic disease of eggplant in the Midwest is Verticillium wilt.
  • Major insect pests of eggplant in the Midwest:

    Flea beetle damage to eggplant leaf, David Rhodes (see: ID-56: Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2003 - Eggplant (PURDUE) [pdf] for information on eggplant varieties, fertilizing, growing transplants and transplanting, and specific eggplant disease, weed and insect control recommendations for the Midwest)

    Sources of information:

  • Cranshaw, W., Welty, C., Bessin, R. Peppers and eggplant. In "Vegetable Insect Management With Emphasis on the Midwest", (ed. R. Foster, B. Flood), Meister Publishing Co., Willoughby, Ohio, pp. 89 - 98 (1995).
  • Nonnecke, I.L. "Vegetable Production", Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY (1989).
  • Phillips, R., Rix, M. "The Random House Book of Vegetables", Random House, NY (1993).
  • Maynard, D.N. Eggplant. In "The Software Toolworks Multimedia Encyclopedia", Version 1.5, Grolier, Inc. (1992).
  • Kalloo, G. Eggplant, Solanum melongena Miller. In "Genetic Improvement of Vegetable Crops", (ed. G. Kalloo, B.O. Bergh), Pergamon Press, Oxford, U.K., pp. 587-604 (1993).
  • Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers, ID-56, eds. R. Foster, D. Egel, E. Maynard, R. Weinzierl, H. Taber, L.W. Jett, B. Hutchinson, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, 2003.
  • Lawande, K.E., Chavan, J.K. Eggplant (brinjal). In "Handbook of Vegetable Science and Technology: Production, Composition, Storage, and Processing", (ed. D.K. Salunkhe, S.S. Kadam), Marcel Dekker, Inc., NY, pp. 225 - 244 (1998).

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  • David Rhodes
    Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
    Horticulture Building
    625 Agriculture Mall Drive
    Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010
    Last Update: 01/07/08