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Solanum mammosum

This article is about the plant Solanum mammosum, described by Carl Linnaeus. For other Solanum described under this name, see below.
"Cow's Udder" redirects here. For the mammary glands of cows, see Udder.

Solanum mammosum is commonly known as nipplefruit, titty fruit, cow's udder, or, ambiguously, "Apple of Sodom".[1] It is an annual or tender perennial plant in the Solanaceae family, part of the Solanum or nightshade genus, and a relative of the tomato and potato. This poisonous fruit is native to South America, but has been naturalized in the Greater Antilles, Central America and Caribbean.

In Chinese culture it is known as five fingered eggplant(五指茄). In Japan it is known as Fox Face.


Solanum mammosum sold at a Chinese New Year fair in Hong Kong

The plant is grown for ornamental purposes, in part because of the distal end of the fruit's resemblance to a human breast, while the proximal end looks like a cow's udder. It has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment athlete's foot by hunters in Trinidad[2] and for irritability and restlessness. It is sometimes also used as a detergent. It is imported to Taiwan and Hong Kong as decorative foliage for use in religious and festival floral arrangements. They are commonly used in building Chinese New Year trees due to their auspicious golden coloured fruit.


This plant is not easily confused, but several now-invalid scientific names have been given to it:[3]

  • Solanum corniculatum E.André (non Huber: preoccupied[4])
S. corniculatum of Hiern refers to an unidentifiable species of Lycianthes.
  • Solanum cornigerum E.André
S. cornigerum of Dunal in de Candolle is now S. viscosissimum.
  • Solanum globiferum Dunal
  • Solanum mammosum var. corniculum Ridl.
  • Solanum mamosissimum Ram.Goyena
  • Solanum platanifolium Sims
S. platanifolium var. lagoense is the Solanum affine of Otto Sendtner.
  • Solanum villosissimum Zuccagni

In addition, the name Solanum mammosum was also invalidly given to other nightshade species:[3]


  1. ^ Trade Winds Fruit: Nipple Fruit
  2. ^ Lans et al. (2001)
  3. ^ a b Solanaceae Source (2006)
  4. ^ The identity of Huber's S. corniculatum is unclear, but his description precedes that of André: Solanaceae Source (2006)




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