SOLANACEAE - Nightshade or Potato Family

Herbs, shrubs, trees, and vines

Leaves alternate and simple

Flowers bisexual, actinomorhic, sepals and petals fused into tube, stamens sometimes porcidal


Fruit a berry or capsule

85 genera, 2800 species, cosmopolitan but most common in tropical South America

Members of this family produce a wide range of toxic alkaloids, including nicotine

Atropa belladonna - deadly nightshade
Datura - Jimsom weed
Nicotiana tabacum - tobacco

Economic importance:
Nicotiana tabacum - tobacco
Lycopersicon - tomato
Solanum tuberosum - potato
Solanum melongena - eggplant
Capsicum annuum - peppers
Petunia - ornamental annual

The potato has the most positive economic value of any member of this family and its introduction in Europe was a key component to the Industrial Revolution

Diagnostic characteristics: simple, alternate leaves, flowers 5-merous and actinomorphic, sepals and petals fused into a tube


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