I grabbed a stick of it and pointed it wild-eyed in the direction of the vendor: “What is this?”
“Pumpkin on a Stick,” he replied.
Now, I wasn’t born yesterday so I know for a FACT that pumpkins do not grow on sticks.
“Surely, it’s a tomato?”
Replies the vendor: “It’s a pumpkin that grows on a stick.”
“It’s in the tomato family, right?”
Replies the vendor: “It’s a pumpkin. We grow it from seed.”
I paid the man for his “pumpkin on a stick” and scrutinized the stem all the way home. I convinced James (who needed no convincing) that this plant was at the very least in the nightshade family. Whether it was edible or not was another question entirely. The instant we returned home, I placed the stick in water and asked Grandma Google what in the world my “pumpkin on a stick” could possibly be. Grandma says that my pumpkin is indeed an eggplant (solanum integrifolium or perhaps S. aethiopicum)
The eggplant is also called hmong eggplant, scarlet eggplant, ornamental eggplant, mock tomato, ad infinitum. This eggplant appears to be edible and is served in Southeast Asian stir-fry dishes. It is reputed to have a bitter flavor (which is usually not a good sign). However, many eggplants will have a bitter taste (this is why you sprinkle eggplant with salt before cooking and then rinse). The plant grows to be about 4 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. I’m guessing my plant will be larger due to my warm gulf coast zone.
My goal is to root this stick AND collect the seeds to see what I possibly have here.