Solanaceae

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Cestroideae
Goetzeoideae
Nicotianoideae
Petunioideae
Schizanthoideae
Schwenckioideae
Solanoideae[1]

Solanaceae is a family of flowering plants that contains a number of important agricultural crops as well as many toxic plants. The name of the family comes from the Latin Solanum "the nightshade plant", but the further etymology of that word is unclear. Most likely, the name comes from the perceived resemblance that some of the flowers bear to the sun and its rays, and in fact a species of Solanum (Solanum nigrum) is known as the sunberry. Alternatively, it has been suggested the name originates from the Latin verb solari, meaning "to soothe". This presumably refers to soothing pharmacological properties of some of the psychoactive species of the family.

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.

The Solanaceae family is characteristically ethnobotanical, that is, extensively utilized by humans. It is an important source of food, spice and medicine. However, Solanaceae species are often rich in alkaloids whose toxicity to humans and animals ranges from mildly irritating to fatal in small quantities.

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