Tender perennial plant (Solanum melongena) of the nightshade family. It requires a warm climate and is grown extensively in eastern and southern Asia (where it is native) and in the U.S. It is usually grown as an annual for its fleshy fruit. It has an erect, bushy stem; large ovate, slightly lobed leaves; and pendant, violet, solitary flowers. The fruit is a large, glossy, egg-shaped berry, varying in colour from dark purple to red, yellowish, or white, and sometimes striped. It is a staple in cuisines of the Mediterranean region.