A family of dicotyledonous (see dicotyledon) plants, mostly herbs but some shrubs and trees, having normally alternate leaves, and regular flowers which are mostly pentamerous. The petals form a corolla tube, at least at the base. There are 5 stamens, alternating with the corolla lobes. The ovary is of 2 cells, sometimes 4, with many ovules on axile placentas (see placentation), and a terminal style. The fruits may be capsules or berries. The Solanaceae are an important family, containing many plants of major economic importance, such as Solanum tuberosum (potato), and Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato); also Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), ornamentals (e.g. Petunia hybrida with showy flowers), and many poisonous genera and species rich in alkaloids (e.g. Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade), some of which are used in medicine. There are some 90 genera, with 2600 species, cosmopolitan in distribution but centred in the tropics.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.