Historically Arabic

DAY 150 (2 SEPTEMBER) – Aubergine (Solanum melongera) (Vejer, Spain)

Excited and amazed in equal measure to discover that these delicate white and mauve flowers belong to the wild aubergine. Great clumps of them are strewn across the hillside here.

There was no sign of the actual ‘berry’ (yes, it is officially berry rather than vegetable), though the wild ones are less than 3cm in diameter so easier to miss!

We know the plant was grown throughout the Med by Arabs in the early Middle Ages. Ibn al-Awwam, an Andalusian Arab living in Seville in the 12th century, wrote a book on agriculture in which he described how to grow aubergines. The Spanish term berenjena is derived from the Arabic word for aubergine al-badinjan.

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