This is a large Family with around 2000-3000 species in 90 different genera, found in most temperate and tropical regions, with a large number coming from Australia and Central and South America. It is a family mainly of herbs, with a few shrubs and trees, and contains many of our most well-known food plants, including Potatoes, Tomatoes, Aubergines and Peppers. It also contains many popular garden ornamental plants, including Petunias, Browallia and Salpiglossis. There are several poisonous species, including Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) and Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium), and the family also contains the important economic plant, Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), which contains the highly toxic alkaloid nicotine.
Regular flowers with five petals Alternate leaves Five stamens attached to the corolla tube Superior ovary containing many yellowish disc-shaped seeds
Many parts of many members of this Plant Family are POISONOUS
The most important species of this family for the global diet is the potato or Solanum tuberosum, whose carbohydrate-rich tubers have been a staple food in many times and places, and which is one of the most grown crops today. In many genera, the fruits are the desirable item, for example, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, uchuva, and peppers.
The family is also informally known as the nightshade- or potato family. The family includes Datura (Jimson weed), Mandragora (mandrake), belladonna (deadly nightshade), Capsicum (paprika, chili pepper), Solanum (potato, tomato, aubergine or eggplant), Nicotiana (tobacco), and Petunia (petunia). With the exception of tobacco (Nicotianoideae) and petunia (Petunioideae) most of the economically-important genera are contained in the sub-family Solanoideae.