Preliminary Study on the Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) Complex in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


  •   Blaise Bikandu Kapesa

  •   Marc Sosef

  •   Steven Janssens

  •   Timothée Le Péchon

  •   Félicien Lukoki Luyeye


Black nightshade, or the Solanum nigrum complex, includes a number of species that botanists consider problematic due to their morphological resemblance and the high rate of hybridization. As part of the revision of the family Solanaceae for the Flora central Africa,we realized a molecular study of the Solanum nigrum complex in the western part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. A total of 21 samples of this complex were collected and identified using the recent revision by [11]. The DNA of each specimen was extracted and then amplified by PCR for 4 molecular markers: the two nuclear regions waxy and ITS, and the two chloroplastics markers trnL-F and trnH-psbA. Additional sequences of specimens reliably identified were obtained from GenBank. The combined molecular data set allowed for the identification of two distinct groups. The first we conclude that in the western part of D.R. Congo, two species of the Solanum nigrum complex occur, both showing high morphological variability, while the true Solanum nigrum is absent from that region. The two species are Solanum americanum Mill. and Solanum scabrum Mill. The results confirm the taxonomic decisions of [11]. The generally low resolution in the analyses did not allow to visualize a geographical signal in the variation.

Keywords: Barcoding; DNA; molecular marker; population; Solanum americanum; Solanum scabrum; species complex; systematics; taxonomy


G.E Barboza., A.T Hunziker., G Bernadello., et al, Solanaceae In: Kadereit J.W. and Bittrich V. (éds) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants.Springer, Hamburg. XIV: 295–357 2016.

C. Linnaeus. Species plantarum. L. Salvius, Stockholm, 1753.

M.F, Dunal Histoire naturelle, médicale et économique des Solanum et des genres qui ont été confondus avec eux. A. Koenig, Paris, 1813.

M.F, Dunal Solanorum generum que affinium synopsis. Renaud, Montpellier, 1816.

G. Bitter, Solana nova vel minus cognita, XVIII. Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 16: 79–103, 1919.

S. Knapp A revision of the Dulcamaroid Clade of Solanum L. (Solanaceae). PhytoKeys 22 : 1–432.2013.

B. Bikandu, F.Lukoki, J.P.Habari, S.Ntore and M.S.M. Sosef, Solanaceae. In: Sosef M.S.M. (ed.) Flore d’Afrique centrale (Rép. dém. Congo – Rwanda - Burundi), nouvelle série, Spermatophyta. Jardin botanique de Meise, Meise, 2020.

T.L Weese. and L. Bohs, A three-gene phylogeny of the genus Solanum (Solanaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 32: 445–463, 2007.

L. Bohs Major clades in Solanum based on ndhF sequence data. In : Keating R.C., Hallowell V.C. and Croat T. (éds) A festschrift for William G. D’Arcy: the legacy of a taxonomist. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 104, 2005.

T Särkinen., G.E. Barboza and S. Knapp, True black nightshades: phylogeny anddelimitation of the Morelloid clade of Solanum. Taxon 64(5): 945–958, 2015.

T. Särkinen., P Poczai., G.E Barboza., G.M. Weerden., M. Baden and S. Knapp, A revision of the Old World black nightshades (Morelloid clade of Solanum L., Solanaceae). PhytoKeys 106: 1–223, 2018.

G. M. Lexa., S. Abel.,H. Budahn., E. Klocke., Characterization of the Solanum Nigrum Complex of Kenya by AFLP Markers. International Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 3:1, 2017. Inc. doi:10.12783/ijast.2015.0301.02.

E.A., Olet A.K. Lye and M. Heun, Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) analysis of species of Solanum section Solanum (Solanaceae) from Uganda. African Journal of Biotechnology 10(34) : 6387–6395, 2011,.

J.M. Edmonds and J.A. Chweya , Black nightshades. Solanum nigrum L. and related species. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops 15. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research and Rome, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Gatersleben, 1997.

R.G., Manoko van den Berg R.M.C., Feron van der Weerden G.M. C. and Mariani AFLP markers support separation of Solanum nodiflorum from Solanum americanum sensu stricto (Solanaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 267: 1–11, 2007.

P. Poczai and J. Hyvönen, Identification and characterization of plastid trnF(GAA) pseudogenes in four species of Solanum (Solanaceae). Biotechnology Letters 33: 2317–2323, 2011,.

J.J. Doyle and J.L. Doyle, A rapid isolation procedure for small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochemical Bulletin 19: 11–155,. 1987.

D.M Spooner., H Ballard., S.A Stephenson. and Polgar Z, Phylogeny of wild potatoes (Solanum sect. Petota) using the nuclear ITS ribosomal DNA region. University of Wisconsin, Madison,. 2005.

M.B. Hamilton, Four primer pairs for the amplification of chloroplast intergenic regions with intraspecific variation. Molecular Ecology 8 : 521–523, 1999. PMID: 10199016.

P.Taberlet, P.G. Gielly and J Bouvet.. Universal primers for amplication of tree non-coding regions of chloroplast DNA. Plant Molecular Biology 17: 1105–1109, 1991.

White T.J, Bruns T., Lee S. and Taylor J. 1990, Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for phylogenetics for phylogenetics. In: Innis M., Gelfand D., Sninsky J. and White T.A (eds) PCR protocole: a guide to methode and application: 315–322. Academic Press, San Diego.

K Katoh, K. Misawa, K. Kuma and T. Miyata MAFFT: a novel method for rapid multiple sequence alignment based on fast Fourier transform. Nucleic Acids Reseach 30(14): 3059,. 2002.

Posada D.. jModeltest: phylogenetic model averaging, Molecular Biology and Evolution 25(7): 1253–1256, 2008,

J.P. Huelsenbeck and F. Ronquist,MRBAYES: Bayesian inference of phylogenetic trees. Bioinformatics 17 : 754–755, 2001,

A.J Drummond. and A Rambaut, BEAST: bayesian evolutionary analysis by sampling tree. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7(1): 214. 2007.

Y Suzuki, G.V. Glasko and M. Nei, Overcredibility of molecular phylogenies obtained by Bayesian phylogenetics. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99: 16138–16143, 2002,

M.E Alfaro., S. Zoller and F Lutzoni.Bayes or bootstrap? A simulation study comparing performance of bayesian markov chain monte carlo sampling and bootstrapping in assessing phylogenetic confidence. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20(2): 255–266, 2003.

P. Latham and Konda ku Mbuta, Plantes utiles du Bas-Congo, République démocratique du Congo, 2005, 2me édition. Mystole Publications, Canterbury.

F.K., Monthe J.Duminil, E Kasongo Yakusu., et al., The African timber tree Entandrophragma congoense (Pierre ex De Wild.) A.Chev. is morphologically and genetically distinct from Entandrophragma angolense (Welw.) C.DC. Tree Genetics and Genomes 14: 66, 2018

M. Renier Flore du Kwango, Tome III. Mission des Jésuites, Kisantu, 1948.

K.M Konda., M., Kabakura B.Mbembe, et al. Plantes médicinales de traditions. Province de l’Equateur – R.D.Congo. Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Kinshasa, 2012.

B.F Nzuki.Recherches ethnobotaniques sur les plantes médicinales dans la Région de Mbanza-Ngungu, RDC. Thèse de Doctorat (PhD), Faculté des Sciences en Bio-Ingénierie, Université de Gand, 2016.

W.Zhang, X. Fan, S Zhu., H. Zhao and L. Fu, Species-specific identification from incomplete sampling: applying DNA barcodes to monitoring invasive Solanum plants. PLOS ONE 8(2): e55927,. 2013

Viljoen E. and Berger D.K. Morphological and molecular evidence for hybridization and polyploidization in the Solanum nigrum L. complex. Lab. 6-25, 2011, Plant Science, Université de Pretoria.

M.L Kuzmina, T.W.A Braukmann, A.J., Fazekas et al,Using herbarium-derived DNA to assemble a large-scale DNA barcode library for the vascular plants of Canada. Applications in Plant Sciences 5(12): apps.1700079,. 2017,

Y. Wu, B. Wang and L.Xu., Solanaceae DNA molecular identification. University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2015.

L. Bohs and R.G. Olmstead, A reassessment of Normania triguera (Solanaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 228: 33–48, 2001,

J. Shaw., E.B. Lickey., J.T.,Beck., S.B. Farmer W., Liu., J. Miller, K.C .Siripun., C.T., Winder., D.E.Soltis., R.K., Kuzoff., M.E., Mort., M.Zanis, M. Fishbein, L. Hufford., M. K. Koontz & Arroyo (2016) Elucidating Deep-Level Phylogenetic Relationships in Saxifragaceae Using Sequences for Six Chloroplastic and Nuclear DNA Regions. Annal.Missouri Botanic. Garden 88(4):669-693.

D.J Oh, K Lee, J.Kim, G.P Son. and Y.-H Jung. Genetic analysis of three Solanum accessions based on nrDNA ITS and trnL-trnF sequences, 2011. Non publié.

C.M Lopes., F De Barba M., Boyer., et al., DNA metabarcoding diet analysis for species with parapatric vs sympatric distribution: a case study on subterranean rodents. Heredity (Edinburgh) 144(5): 525–36, 2014..

P.W Bosland. and J.B Baral,Phylogenetic analysis of Capsicum using a noncoding region (chloroplast trnL-trnF) of chloroplast. Unpublished thesis. 27–49, 2003. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.

S.R. Stern., M.F Agra. and L.Bohs. Molecular delimitation of clades within New World species of the “spiny solanums” (Solanum subgenus Leptostemonum). Taxon 60: 1429–1441, 2011.

B.Raoudha., S. Amelb, G. Hassenc and O.B. Azeiz. Extraction de l’ADN et optimisation de la PCR (Polymorphism Chain Reaction) pour l’application des marqueurs RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphism DNA) chez Stipa lagascae ,Acta Botanica Gallica, 159:1, 73-78, 2012. DOI: 10.1080/12538078.2012.671646.


How to Cite
Kapesa, B. B., Sosef, M., Janssens, S., Le Péchon, T., & Luyeye, F. L. (2021). Preliminary Study on the Solanum nigrum L. (Solanaceae) Complex in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. European Journal of Biology and Biotechnology, 2(5), 9-18.