FAMILY 10: Solanaceae (Potato Family) – Characters , Floral formula & importance

Potato Family

Diagnostic characters

  1. Habit: Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, or small tree.
  2. Roots: Fibrous or tuberous tap root.
  3. Stem: Herbaceous or Nsood.); sometimes underground stem (tuber).
  4. Leaves: Petiolate; alternate or opposite; simple; exstipulate;
  5. Inflorescence: Terminal or lateral cyme or solitary.
  6. Flower: Pedicillate; ebracteate; actinomorphic or zygomorphic; Regular; complete; hermaphrodite; hypogynous;
  7. Calyx: 5 sepals; fused (gamosepalous); green; often much enlarged in the fruit.
  8. Corolla: 5 petals; gamopetalous; bell shaped or funnel shaped.
  9. Stamens: 5 stamens; epipetalous; anther free or united; basifixed
  10. Carpel: Bicarpellary; syncarpous; ovary superior; obliquely placed; bilocular, sometimes, become multilocular by the . formation of false septum. Placentation axile.
  11. Fruits: Capsule or berry
  12. Seed: Endospermic seed.

Floral formula and floral Diagram

Solanaceae floral formula & diagram

Flowers of Solanaceae

Economic Importance

  1. Food: Many plants of this family are used as food.
  • Solanum tubersum (potato-white or Irish potato): It is an important plant in this family. It is used as food. The people of Ireland completely depend on potato for food.

  • Lysopersicum esculentum (tomato): Once it was believed to be a poisonous plant. Now it is used as a vegetable.

  • Solanum melangena (egg plant or brinjak’): It is also used as food.

  • Capsicum annum and Capsicum frutenscens are rich in vitamin C and Vitamin A. They are used as condiments .


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  • Physalis (4-jet-Ground-Cherry): it produces an edible fruit. This fruit is enclosed in a bladder like calyx called husk. So it is called husk tomato.

  1. Tobacco: Nicotiana tobacum (tobacco) has great commercial value. It leaves are dried and made into tobacco. This tobacco is used for making cigarettes.

  2. Medicinal plants: Many members of this family produce powerful alkaloids . e.g. Atropa belladonna, Datura are rich in atropine and daturines. These are used in many medicines.

  3. Ornamental Plants: Many plants are cultivated in the gardens for their beautiful flowers. Examples: Petunia, Nicotiana, Cestrum and Solanum etc.

  4. Weeds: Some plants are weeds, e.g. Solanum nigrum

Distribution pattern

“This family has about 90 genera and 2000 species. These plants are distributed in temperate and tropical areas. 14 genera and 52 species of this family are present in Pakistan.

Common species

  1. Solanum tubersum: Potato
  2. Nocotiana tobaeum: Tobacco
  3. Lycopersicum esculentum: Tomato
  4. Capsicum frutescens: Red pepper
  5. Solanum melangena (egg plant or brinjal)

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