Strange eggplant color

kfrinkleAugust 31, 2011

So a friend of mine is growing eggplant this year, and had some wonderful sized eggplants, that when ripen, turn from purple to white. I forget the name of the variety, but that does not matter for this question. These plants have been producing since early on this season, and now all of a sudden, all of the fruits that are setting are bright orange, and do not appear to be turning white at any point. Furthermore, the fruits themselves are a tad bit smaller. Any ideas on the skin color change? These are the same plants that were producing white fruit earlier this season.

Now an interesting tidbit here, is that in this same raised bed, he had planted a decent amount of carrots and never picked them all. And I do have to say, the color of the skin on these eggplants is approximately an orange carrot color. I am reaching here though, it is just too strange.

And yes, these plants receive full sun. I am not sure of his watering schedule, but this really is an interesting event.

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Well the carrot theory is doubtful, Otherwise Miracle Grow would make all plants blue.

That being said several years ago a friend paniced one morning after peeing scarlet, After a trip to the emergency room and several labs test is determined he was a little carried away with the juicing machine he bought a week earlier and a bushel of beets.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 4:05PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Do you mean that they are starting out orange from the moment they first appear, or do they start our purple and turn orange instead of turning white?

Eggplants are related to tomatoes and often are affected by some of the same diseases. During periods of very high heat, there are a couple of tomato-related diseases that can cause normally red tomatoes to behave in an abnormal manner. One makes them go from green to a grayish or brownish color, and there's physiological issues where the heat impedes the ripening and keeps the tomatoes from turning red. I think one of these might be affecting the eggplants in question.

I don't think there's any way the carrots' color pigments are affecting the eggplant in the way you describe though.

Eggplant often will turn a yellow, tan or orange if left on the plant too long. If your friends' eggplants were maturing slowly and left on the plant a long time in high heat because they had a disease issue like graywall (the one that turns tomatoes odd colors), they then might have progressed to orange without ever turning their usual color.

Also, there are some eggplants whose fruit are orange. Maybe the plants your friend is growing have orange-fruited plants in their breeding line, although I have no idea if they could revert to that orange on plants that had been producing purple fruit ripening to white. I wouldn't think that could happen, but I've learned that almost anything can happen in the gardening world.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 10:54AM
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I talked to him, and they are the orangish color from the moment they are visible.... And I did verify that fruits which set earlier in the year did not have this problem. Thanks for the info thus far!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

This whole question puzzles me. I don't grow a lot of eggplant, but when I do grow eggplant, my plants produce the same color fruit from start to finish. For example, an eggplant fruit will start out white and stay white throughout the process, as long as I pick it before it begins to turn yellow. Or, it will start out purple and stay purple, or start out green and stay green. You might see different shades of color, but the color itself doesn't change as long as the eggplant are picked at the usual immature stage. They all will turn a tan or brown or yellow or orange if left on the plant too long. Even the striped eggplant fruit stay within their family....if they start out green/white striped, they'll still be those colors when you pick them. So, when you say it starts out purple and changes to white, that puzzles me unless it is a bicolor that is purple and white and the white just becomes more dominant than the purple as the eggplant ripens.

Other than having fruit turning a different color as it matures (we actually harvest eggplant in its immature stage much the same way we harvest most bell peppers green even though most of them mature to red or orange or yellow), the only guess I can offer is that the orange fruit is a mutation.

Maybe someone else has grown an eggplant that totally changes color from purple to white or green to white as it matures, but I haven't.

One clue would be to look at the plants' stems and flowers. If the variety being grown is supposed to produce purple fruit, it should have purple flowers and even the stems should have a purplish tint.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 4:30PM
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