Temporal range: Early Eocene to Recent, 52–0 Ma
Brugmansia lg.jpg
A flowering Brugmansia suaveolens
from the US Botanic Garden
Scientific classification e


Fruits including tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, bell peppers and chili peppers, all of which are closely related members of the Solanaceae.

The Solanaceae, or nightshades, are an economically important family of flowering plants. The family ranges from annual and perennial herbs to vines, lianas, epiphytes, shrubs, and trees, and includes a number of important agricultural crops, medicinal plants, spices, weeds, and ornamentals. Many members of the family contain potent alkaloids, and some are highly toxic, but many—including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell and chili peppers, and tobacco—are widely used. The family belongs to the order Solanales, in the asterid group and class Magnoliopsida (dicotyledons).[2] The Solanaceae consists of about 98 genera and some 2,700 species,[3] with a great diversity of habitats, morphology and ecology.

The name Solanaceae derives from the genus Solanum, "the nightshade plant". The etymology of the Latin word is unclear. The name may come from a perceived resemblance of certain solanaceous flowers to the sun and its rays. At least one species of Solanum is known as the "sunberry". Alternatively, the name could originate from the Latin verb solare, meaning "to soothe", presumably referring to the soothing pharmacological properties of some of the psychoactive species of the family.

The family has a worldwide distribution, being present on all continents except Antarctica. The greatest diversity in species is found in South America and Central America. In 2017, scientists reported on their discovery and analysis of a fossil tomatillo found in the Patagonian region of Argentina, dated to 52 million years B.P. The finding has pushed back the earliest appearance of the plant family Solanaceae.[4] As tomatillos likely developed later than other nightshades, this may mean that the Solanaceae may have first developed during the Mesozoic Era.[5]

The Solanaceae include a number of commonly collected or cultivated species. The most economically important genus of the family[citation needed] is Solanum, which contains the potato (S. tuberosum, in fact, another common name of the family is the "potato family"), the tomato (S. lycopersicum), and the eggplant or aubergine (S. melongena). Another important genus, Capsicum, produces both chili peppers and bell peppers.

The genus Physalis produces the so-called groundcherries, as well as the tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), the Cape gooseberry and the Chinese lantern. The genus Lycium contains the boxthorns and the wolfberry Lycium barbarum. Nicotiana contains, among other species, tobacco. Some other important members of Solanaceae include a number of ornamental plants such as Petunia, Browallia, and Lycianthes, and sources of psychoactive alkaloids, Datura, Mandragora (mandrake), and Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade). Certain species are widely known for their medicinal uses, their psychotropic effects, or for being poisonous.

Most of the economically important genera are contained in the subfamily Solanoideae, with the exceptions of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum, Nicotianoideae) and petunia (Petunia × hybrida, Petunioideae).

Many of the Solanaceae, such as tobacco and petunia, are used as model organisms in the investigation of fundamental biological questions at the cellular, molecular, and genetic levels.

Etymology and pronunciation

The name "Solanaceae" (US: /) comes to international scientific vocabulary from New Latin, from Solanum, the type genus, + -aceae,[6] a standardized suffix for plant family names in modern taxonomy. The genus name comes from the Classical Latin word solanum, referring to nightshades (especially Solanum nigrum), "probably from sol, 'sun', + -anum, neuter of -anus."[6]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Solanaceae
العربية: باذنجانية
asturianu: Solanaceae
azərbaycanca: Badımcankimilər
беларуская: Паслёнавыя
български: Картофови
bosanski: Solanaceae
català: Solanàcies
Cebuano: Solanaceae
čeština: Lilkovité
español: Solanaceae
Esperanto: Solanacoj
euskara: Solanaceae
français: Solanaceae
galego: Solanáceas
한국어: 가지과
հայերեն: Մորմազգիներ
hornjoserbsce: Wrónidłowe rostliny
hrvatski: Pomoćnice
Ido: Solano
Ilokano: Solanaceae
Bahasa Indonesia: Solanaceae
íslenska: Náttskuggaætt
italiano: Solanaceae
עברית: סולניים
Кыргызча: Помидорлор
Latina: Solanaceae
latviešu: Nakteņu dzimta
lietuvių: Bulviniai
Ligure: Solanaceae
lumbaart: Solanaceae
македонски: Зрнци
മലയാളം: സൊളാനേസീ
Bahasa Melayu: Solanaceae
Nederlands: Nachtschadefamilie
日本語: ナス科
Napulitano: Solanaceae
norsk nynorsk: Søtvierfamilien
occitan: Solanaceae
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ituzumdoshlar
پنجابی: شرمائی
polski: Psiankowate
português: Solanaceae
română: Solanacee
русский: Паслёновые
Scots: Solanaceae
Simple English: Nightshade
slovenščina: Razhudnikovke
српски / srpski: Solanaceae
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Solanaceae
Tagalog: Solanaceae
татарча/tatarça: Пасленчалар
తెలుగు: సొలనేసి
Türkçe: Patlıcangiller
українська: Пасльонові
Tiếng Việt: Họ Cà
West-Vlams: Nachtschoafamilie
Winaray: Solanaceae
ייִדיש: נאכטשאטן
粵語: 茄科
中文: 茄科