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Family Solanaceae

Description: Herbs, shrubs or small trees, [or rarely woody vines]; spines present or absent.

Leaves alternate, sometimes subopposite, simple to pinnate.

Inflorescences terminal, lateral, axillary, extra-axillary or leaf-opposed, cymose, appearing racemose, paniculate or subumbellate, or flowers solitary. Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual or rarely unisexual. Calyx tubular to campanulate, usually 5-lobed or sometimes 3–9-lobed. Corolla campanulate, tubular, funnel-shaped, urn-shaped or trumpet-shaped; tube rotate to stellate, usually with 5 (rarely 3–9) lobes; lobes valvate, folded, rolled or imbricate in bud. Stamens usually 5 or 4, rarely 1, 2, 3, or 8, equal or unequal, inserted in corolla tube; anthers 2- or 1-locular, sometimes cohering, dehiscing by longitudinal slits or terminal pores. Ovary superior, 2–5-locular; style simple; stigma capitate; ovules usually numerous, with axile placentation.

Fruit a capsule or berry, usually 2-locular; seeds usually numerous, often flattened.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 90 genera, >2600 species, widespread in tropical & temperate regions, mostly native of Central & South America. Australia: 23 genera, c. 200 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Solanaceae, Order: Solanales)

This family contains several important food plants, such as Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana L.), Capsicum, Chili and peppers (Capsicum species), Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Miller). Ornamental plants include species Browallia, Brunfelsia, Cestrum, Datura, Lycium, Nicotiana, Nierembergia, Petunia, Physalis, Salpiglossis, Schizanthus, Solanum, Solandra and Streptosolen. Several genera include plants that are poisonous or have medicinal or narcotic properties, e.g. tobacco (Nicotiana species), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna L.), thornapples (Datura species) and Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger L.).

Text by B. J. Conn
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key

 Key to the genera 
1Fruit a berry, sometimes firm or slightly dry2
Fruit a capsule13
2Flowers solitary or in few-flowered clusters at nodes3
Flowers in definite racemose, cymose, subumbellate or panicle-like inflorescences
                       Back to 1
3Calyx enlarged in fruit, becoming larger than berry and often enclosing it4
Calyx not or scarcely enlarged in fruit, always shorter than berry
                       Back to 2
4Corolla pale blue to mauveNicandra
Corolla yellow or yellow-green, often with dark spots
                       Back to 3
5Mature berry yellow or yellow-greenPhysalis
Mature berry bright red
                       Back to 4
6Corolla stellate with lobes as long as tubeCapsicum
Corolla tube narrow, funnel-shaped or urn-shaped, with lobes much shorter than tube
                       Back to 3
7Spinescent shrubs or herbsLycium
Non-spinescent scrambling or climbing herbs
                       Back to 6
8Leaves pinnatisect; corolla yellow and berry red (previously Lycopersicon)Solanum
Leaves entire or lobed; corolla white, blue to dark purple, rarely pink, if yellow, orange-yellow or green yellow then berry white or black, never red
                       Back to 2
9Corolla lobes valvate in bud10
Corolla lobes rolled or folded
                       Back to 8
10Corolla orange-yellow or green-yellow; anthers versatile with connective small; berry white or blackCestrum
Corolla pink; anthers basifixed with connective large and conspicuous; berry dark red (previously Cyphomandra)
                       Back to 9
11Stamens 4; anthers 1-locular; corolla white with purple striationsDuboisia
Stamens 5; anthers 2-locular; corolla variously coloured, with striations absent
                       Back to 9
12Flowers solitary or more, and when more than one without a peduncle; calyx 5–10 toothedLycianthes
Flowers in cymes, racemes or panicles, with peduncles; calyx usually 5-lobed
                       Back to 11
13Stamens 4 or 5, all equal or subequal in length14
Stamens 5, with 4 equal and 1 much shorter
                       Back to 1
14Stamens 4Cyphanthera
Stamens 5
                       Back to 13
15Capsule spiny or tuberculateDatura
Capsule smooth or nearly so
                       Back to 14
16Corolla tube c. 1 mm wide for most of its length, abruptly dilated near apex into a broad, shallow cupNierembergia
Corolla tube more than 1 mm wide near base, gradually widening towards apex
                       Back to 16
17Calyx segments fused to about halfway; valves of capsule 4 or rarely 2, entireNicotiana
Calyx segments free almost to base; valves of capsules 2, entire or 2-fid
                       Back to 17
18Leaves ovate to elliptic, more than 2 cm long; corolla more than 2 cm longPetunia
Leaves oblong-linear to spathulate, less than 2 cm long; corolla less than 2 cm long
                       Back to

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