Biological Sciences Department
Index Herbariourm

The Kentucky Solanaceae

Commonly known as the nightshade family, the Solanaceae is also home to more innocuous plants such as tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes, eggplants, red peppers, and petunias. The family is well known for tobacco and other alkaloid containing plants such as belladonna and mandrake. All plants in the family contain toxic alkaloids, at least in the foliage and often in other parts as well.

The nightshade family is large and economically important. While representatives are found nearly worldwide, the family is most diverse in Central and South America, and many species prefer tropical climates. However, three genera are native to Kentucky and four more are found either naturalized or occasionally escaped from cultivation. Still more are grown here as annuals.

Common Kentucky Solanaceae

This list is limited to native and naturalized taxa and cultivated plants often persisting in or around old fields or gardens. The species name is provided when only one species occurs in the state.

"Big" images are 1500 pixels high (and approximately life-sized). "Small" images are 500 pixels high. For scale, the "K" in "KNK" is 3.1 cm high (or 1.25").

Datura: [Big; Small] D. stramonium. Thornapple or jimson weed. Native.
[Big; Small] L. barbarum. Matrimony vine. Occasional escape from cultivation.
[Big; Small] N. physalodes. Apple of Peru. Weed introduced from South America.
[Big; Small] N. tabacum. Tobacco. Widely cultivated and occasionaly escapes.
[Big; Small] Petunia x hybrida. The common petunia. Occasional garden escape.
[Big; Small] 7-9 species in KY. Groundcherries and tomatillos. Native and cultivated. See the Physalis pages for further information.
[Big; Small] 7-8 species in KY. Nightshades & tomatoes. Native and introduced. See the Solanum pages for further information.

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