5.9.2 Solanaceae

It is a large family, commonly called as the ‘potato family’. It is widely distributed in tropics, subtropics and even temperate zones.

Vegetative Characters
Plants mostly, herbs, shrubs and small trees
Stem: herbaceous rarely woody, aerial; erect, cylindrical, branched, solid or hollow, hairy or glabrous, underground stem in potato (Solanum tuberosum)
Leaves: alternate, simple, rarely pinnately compound, exstipulate; venation reticulate
Floral Characters
Inflorescence : Solitary, axillary or cymose as in Solanum
Flower: bisexual, actinomorphic
Calyx: sepals five, united, persistent, valvate aestivation
Corolla: petals five, united; valvate aestivation
Androecium: stamens five, epipetalous
Gynoecium: bicarpellary, syncarpous; ovary superior, bilocular, placenta swollen with many ovules
Fruits: berry or capsule
Seeds: many, endospermous
Floral Formula: ⊕
Economic Importance
Many plants belonging to this family are source of food (tomato, brinjal, potato), spice (chilli); medicine (belladonna, ashwagandha); fumigatory (tobacco); ornamentals (petunia).

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