SolanaceaePotato family






Identification
  - leaves alternate, often paired at a node with one leaf smaller.
  - often with tomato odor, stellate hairs, or spines.
  - flowers 4 or 5-parted with fused corolla.
  - tomato-like berries with many flat seeds.

Diagnosis: Vegetatively diverse, including herbs, shrubs, trees, lianas and epiphytes. Trees and shrubs without stipules, leaves alternate, often distichous, simple, entire or lobed, with stellate hairs, unpleasant tar or tomato leaf odor, a larger and smaller leaf paired at some nodes (petioles not opposite, but close together).

Similar families
Amaranthaceae: petiole continuous with twig, leaf blade membranous, berry dry with flat seeds, flowers with a ring of tepals only.
Nyctaginaceae: when leaves two at a node, arising opposite, not together, lateral veins often inconspicuous.
Phytolaccaceae: leaves membranous, merging with twig, petioles often purple, flowers with a ring of tepals only.

Diversity: Total: 19 genera, 85 species. Trees: 5 genera, about 20 species.



Credits: Images and text copyright 2000-2007, William A. Haber, http://efg.cs.umb.edu/