World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000065733
Reproduction Date:

Title: Solanum  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Solanum erianthum, Solanaceae, Potato, Eggplant, Solanum brevicaule
Collection: Medicinal Plants, Solanaceae Genera, Solanum
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


"Horsenettle" and variants redirect here. If used for a particular species, this name usually applies to the Carolina Horsenettle (S. carolinense).
Brazilian Nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Subfamily: Solanoideae
Tribe: Solaneae
Genus: Solanum

(but see text)


Androcera Nutt.
Aquartia Jacq.
Artorhiza Raf.
Bassovia Aubl.
Battata Hill
Bosleria A.Nelson
Ceranthera Raf.
Cliocarpus Miers
Cyphomandra Mart. ex Sendtn.
Diamonon Raf.
Dulcamara Moench
Lycopersicon Mill.
Melongena Mill.
Normania Lowe
Nycterium Vent.
Ovaria Fabr.
Parmentiera Raf. (non DC.: preoccupied)
Petagnia Raf.
Pheliandra Werderm.
Pseudocapsicum Medik.
Scubulus Raf.
Solanastrum Fabr.
Solanocharis Bitter
Solanopsis Bitter
Triguera Cav.

Solanum is a large and diverse genus of flowering plants, including two food crops of the highest economic importance, the potato and the tomato. It also contains the nightshades and horsenettles, as well as numerous plants cultivated for their ornamental flowers and fruit.

Solanum species show a wide range of growing habits, such as annual and perennials, vines, subshrubs, shrubs, and small trees. Many formerly independent genera like Lycopersicon (the tomatoes) and Cyphomandra are now included in Solanum as subgenera or sections. Thus, the genus today contains roughly 1,500-2,000 species.


  • Name 1
  • Nightshades 2
  • Food crops 3
  • Ornamentals 4
  • Medicine 5
  • Ecology 6
  • Systematics 7
    • Subgenus Bassovia 7.1
    • Subgenus Leptostemonum 7.2
    • Subgenus Lyciosolanum 7.3
    • Subgenus Solanum sensu stricto 7.4
    • Other notable species 7.5
    • Formerly placed here 7.6
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The generic name was first used by Pliny the Elder (23-79) for a plant also known as strychnos, most likely S. nigrum. Its derivation is uncertain, possibly stemming from the Latin word sol, meaning "sun," referring to its status as a plant of the sun. Another possibility is that the root was solare, meaning "to soothe," or solamen, meaning "a comfort," which would refer to the soothing effects of the plant upon ingestion.[2]


The species usually, most commonly called nightshade in North America and Britain, is Solanum dulcamara, also called bittersweet or woody nightshade. Its foliage and egg-shaped red berries are poisonous, the active principle being solanine, which can cause convulsions and death if taken in large doses. The black nightshade (S. nigrum) is also generally considered poisonous, but its fully ripened fruit and foliage are cooked and eaten in some areas. The deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) is not in the Solanum genus, but is a member of the wider Solanaceae family.

Food crops

Most parts of the plants, especially the green parts and unripe fruit, are poisonous to humans (although not necessarily to other animals), but many species in the genus bear some edible parts, such as fruits, leaves, or tubers. Three crops in particular have been bred and harvested for consumption by humans for centuries, and are now cultivated on a global scale:

Other species are significant food crops regionally, such as Ethiopian eggplant and gilo (S. aethiopicum), naranjilla or lulo (S. quitoense), turkey berry (S. torvum), pepino (S. muricatum), or the "bush tomatoes" (several Australian species).


The species most widely seen in cultivation as ornamental plants are:-


While most medical relevance of Solanum is due to poisonings which are not uncommon and may be fatal, several species are locally used in folk medicine, particularly by native peoples who have long employed them. Giant devil's-fig (S. chrysotrichum) has been shown to be an effective treatment for seborrhoeic dermatitis in one preliminary study.[4]


Solanum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths) - see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Solanum.


The genus was established by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.[5] Its subdivision has always been problematic, but slowly some sort of consensus is being achieved.

The following list is a provisional lineup of the genus' traditional subdivisions, together with some notable species.[5] Many of the subgenera and sections might not be valid; they are used here provisionally as the phylogeny of this genus is not fully resolved yet and many species have not been reevaluated.

Cladistic analyses of DNA sequence data suggests that the present subdivisions and rankings are largely invalid. Far more subgenera would seem to warrant recognition, with Leptostemonum being the only one that can at present be clearly subdivided into sections. Notably, it includes as a major lineage several members of the traditional sections Cyphomandropsis and the old genus Cyphomandra.[1]

Subgenus Bassovia

Section Allophylla

Section Cyphomandropsis

Section Pachyphylla

Subgenus Leptostemonum

Section Acanthophora

Section Androceras: 12 spp.[1]

  • Series Androceras
  • Series Violaceiflorum
  • Series Pacificum

Section Anisantherum
Section Campanulata
Section Crinitum
Section Croatianum
Section Erythrotrichum

Section Graciliflorum
Section Herposolanum

Section Irenosolanum

Section Ischyracanthum
Section Lasiocarpa

Section Melongena

Section Micracantha

Section Monodolichopus
Section Nycterium
Section Oliganthes

Section Persicariae

Section Polytrichum
Section Pugiunculifera
Section Somalanum
Section Torva

Subgenus Lyciosolanum

Subgenus Solanum sensu stricto

Currant Tomato (S. pimpinellifolium) fruit
Andean black potatoes (S. tuberosum)
Turkey Berry (S. torvum) flowers

Section Afrosolanum
Section Anarrhichomenum

Section Archaesolanum

Section Basarthrum

Section Benderianum
Section Brevantherum

Section Dulcamara

Section Herpystichum
Section Holophylla

Section Juglandifolia

Section Lemurisolanum
Section Lycopersicoides

Section Lycopersicon

Section Macronesiotes
Section Normania
Section Petota

Section Pteroidea
Section Quadrangulare
Section Regmandra
Section Solanum

Other notable species

Forked Nightshade (S. furcatum)
Bluewitch Nightshade (S. umbelliferum) flowers

Formerly placed here

Lycianthes rantonnetii and its congeners were often placed in Solanum

Some plants of yet other genera also were placed in Solanum in former times:


  1. ^ a b L."Solanum". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  2. ^ Quattrocchi, U. (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 4 R-Z. USA: Taylor and Francis. p. 2058.  
  3. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136.  
  4. ^ Herrera-Arellano, A.; Jiménez-Ferrer, E.; Vega-Pimentel, A. M.; Martínez-Rivera, M. de L.; Hernández-Hernández, M.; Zamilpa, A.; Tortoriello, J. (2004). "Clinical and mycological evaluation of therapeutic effectiveness of Solanum chrysotrichum standardized extract on patients with Pityriasis capitis (dandruff). A double blind and randomized clinical trial controlled with ketoconazole". Planta Medica 70 (6): 483–488.  
  5. ^ a b "Solanum Phylogeny". Solanaceae Source. Natural History Museum. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  6. ^ Tepe, E. J.; Ridley, G.; Bohs, L. (2012). "A new species of Solanum named for Jeanne Baret, an overlooked contributor to the history of botany" (pdf). PhytoKeys 2012 (8): 37–47.  
  7. ^ a b Anderson, G. J.; Martine, C. T.; Prohens, J.; Nuez, F. (2006). "Solanum perlongistylum and S. catilliflorum, New Endemic Peruvian Species of Solanum, Section Basarthrum, Are Close Relatives of the Domesticated Pepino, S. muricatum". Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature 16 (2): 161–167.  
  8. ^ Ochoa, C. M. (2006). (Solanaceae sect. Basarthrum): A new species from Peru"Solanum tergosericeum". Phytologia 88 (2): 212–215. 

External links

  • Solanum In: Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main 2014.African plants - A Photo Guide.S. Dressler, M. Schmidt, G. Zizka:
  • Meet the TomTato: Tomatoes and potatoes grown as one - CBS News (September 26, 2013)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.