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Family: Solanaceae (potato, tomato, tobacco family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Euasterid I > Order: Solanales

There are about 90 genera and about 2600 species in this family which includes important vegetables such as potato, brinjal, tomato and peppers. Four genera and 61 species are native to southern Africa, 10 genera and 47 species are naturalised and an additional 10 genera 65 species are cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

Lycium

About 100 species, found worldwide in warm and temperate regions, especially the New World. There are about 23 species native to southern Africa, with an additional two species cultivated in the region.

 
Nicotiana

About 67 species, found mainly in the New World. Nicotiana africana is the only indigenous species in southern Africa, endemic to Namibia. In addition, three species are naturalised and six species are cultivated in southern Africa. The genus includes tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) which contains the toxic alkaloid nicotine which, besides being addictive to people, is also used as an insecticide.

Nicotiana x sanderae 'Starship White'
Solanum

There are about 1400 species in this cosmopolitan genus, most of which are native to the tropics. There are 36 species native to southern Africa, 20 species naturalised and an additional 26 species cultivated in the region. The genus includes the Potato Solanum tuberosum and the Aubergine / Eggplant / Brinjal Solanum melongena.

 
Withania

About 10 species, all native to the Old World. Withania somnifera is the only species native to southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

Browallia

One species naturalised and another species cultivated in southern Africa.

Capsicum

The 10 species are native to tropical America. Capsicum annuum (Chilli, Sweet pepper, Paprika) (see Flora of Zimbabwe) and Capsicum frutescens (Piri-piri) have become naturalised in southern Africa. The genus includes sweet peppers, chilli peppers, cayenne pepper and paprika, all varieties of the species Capsicum annuum.

 
Cestrum

About 175 species, native to tropical America. Three species have become naturalised in southern Africa. They can be toxic to livestock and all three are declared Category 1 invasive plant in South Africa. An additional four species and one hybrid are cultivated in the region.

Cestrum ?laevigatum

Cyphomandra betacea (Tree tomato)

Native to Peru.

Datura

About eight species, all native to the New World, with four species naturalised in southern Africa. Datura ferox (Large thorn apple, Grootstinkblaar), Datura innoxia (Downy thorn apple, Harige stinkblaar) and Datura stramonium (Common thorn apple, Gewone stinkblaar) are declared Category 1 invasive plants in South Africa.

 

Iochroma

One species naturalised and another species cultivated in southern Africa.

Lycopersicon

Two species naturalised in southern Africa.

Nicandra

One species: Nicandra physalodes, native to Peru but has become naturalised in most warm countries, including in southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 
Nierembergia

One species naturalised and three species cultivated in southern Africa.

Physalis

About 80 species, most of which are found in the New World. Eight species have become naturalised in southern Africa; an additional two species are cultivated in the region. The genus includes the Cape Gooseberry Physalis peruviana.

 

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

Atropa belladonna (belladonna or deadly nightshade)

Native to Eurasia.

Brugmansia

Three species and one hybrid cultivated.

Brunfelsia

Four species cultivated in southern Africa, including the commonly grown garden plant called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Brunsfelsia pauciflora).

Fabiana imbricata (Pichi)

Native to Chile.

Petunia

Two species and one hybrid cultivated.

Salpichroa origaniifolia

Native to Argentina.

Salpiglossis sinuata

Native to Chile and Argentina.

Schizanthus

Two species cultivated.

Solandra

Three species cultivated.

Streptosolen jamesonii

Native from Colombia to Ecuador.

 

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