Notes Vine of Sodom

For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter.

Deuteronomy 32:32 (KJV)

For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom, and from the fields of Gomor'rah; their grapes are grapes of poison, their clusters are bitter.

Deuteronomy 32:32 (RSV)

For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, and from the terraces of Gomor'rah; their grapes are grapes of poison, their clusters are bitter.

Deuteronomy 32:32 (NWT)

Non-Israeli writers often identify this as the biblical vine of Sodom, but Israeli Zohary (ZOH) identifies it as Calotropis (which see) and does not identify this Solanum species or any of its synonyms in the Flora of Palestine (FP3). A useless weed in the past, this plant might be investigated as a source of steroids. Bad spiny weeds like this might be reduced in whole plant utilization schemes, harvesting the biomass for useful phytochemicals, producing power alcohol from the residual biomass in the process. (ZUL entries below apply to S. sodomeum var. hermannii.) The American Herbal Products Association (AH2) has designated the name Solanum anguivi as the standardized common name (Scn.) listing the ayurvedic name brihati (often spelled brahati), a name often associated with Solanum indicum L. But AH2 equates it with Solanum indicum auct., so I cannot necessarily be sure of which species they are talking. Solanum indicum L. is also an important and useful species. In the Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa (UPW), we read under S. anguivi such appealing names as children's potato and children's tomato, making them sound a bit more appealing than evil's apple and Sodom's apple. UPW adds that this is a very polymorphic aggregate of sub-shrubby plants of innumerable infraspecific taxa. Mende of Sierra Leone consider the armed (thorny) variants male, the unarmed females.

Common Names (Vine of Sodom):

Apple of Sodom (Eng.; HOC); Bitter Apple (Eng.; HOC); Bou Sikroun (Arab.; JLH); Brihati (Ayu.; AH2); Children's Potato (Eng.; UPW); Children's Tomato (Eng.; UPW) Culuta (Guinea-Bissau; UPW); Itchie (Nig.; UPW); Jakato (Sierra Leone; UPW); Katung (Togo; UPW); Kma (Liberia; UPW); Man-sarin Nyateila (Gambia; UPW); Nsusuaa (Ghana; UPW); Sira Korosse (Guinea; UPW); Solanum anguivi (Scn.; AH2); Sulu Jato (Gambia; UPW); Tei (Ivo.; UPW); Vine of Sodom (Eng.; BIB).

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