- A general name for many species of Solanum. The most important is the small fruit (10–13 mm diameter) of a bush Solanum centrale, from the centre of the continent. They are toxic when fresh, but this toxicity is removed by drying. The dried berries have an intense spicy flavour. When ground they are used as a thickening agent and a dry seasoning; they are often used with tomatoes to intensify the flavour.