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"Horsenettle" and variants redirect here. If used for a particular species, this name usually applies to the Carolina Horsenettle (S. carolinense).


Solanum, the nightshades, horsenettles and relatives, is a large and diverse genus of annual and perennial plants. They grow as forbs, vines, sub-shrubs, shrubs, and small trees, and often have attractive fruit and flowers. Many formerly independent genera like Lycopersicon (the tomatoes) or Cyphomandra are included in Solanum as subgenera or section today. Thus, the genus nowadays contains roughly 1,500-2,000 species.

Most parts of the plants, especially the green parts and unripe fruit, are poisonous to humans (albeit not necessarily to other animals), but many species in the genus bear some edible parts, such as fruits, leaves, or tubers. Several species are cultivated, including three globally important food crops:

Other species are significant food crops regionally, such as Ethiopian Eggplant and gilo (S. aethiopicum), naranjilla or lulo (S. quitoense), Turkey Berry (S. torvum), or the "bush tomatoes" (several Australian species).

While most medical relevance of Solanum is due to poisonings which are not uncommon and may be fatal, several species are locally used in folk medicine, particularly by native peoples who have long employed them. Giant Devil's-fig (S. chrysotrichum) has been shown to be an effective treatment for seborrhoeic dermatitis in a scientific study.

Solanum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths) - see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Solanum.

Systematics

The genus was established by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. Its subdivision has always been problematic, but slowly some sort of consensus is being achieved.

The following list is a provisional lineup of the genus' traditional subdivisions, together with some notable species. Many of the subgenera and section might not be valid; they are used here provisionally as the phylogeny of this genus is not fully resolved yet and many species have not been reevaluated.

Cladistic analyses of DNA sequence data suggests that the present subdivisions and rankings are largely invalid. Far more subgenera would seem to warrant recognition, with Leptostemonum being the only one that can at present be clearly subdivided into sections. Notably, it includes as a major lineage several members of the traditional sections Cyphomandropsis and the old genus Cyphomandra.

Subgenus Bassovia

Section Allophylla

Section Cyphomandropsis Section Pachyphylla

Subgenus Leptostemonum



Section Acanthophora Section Anisantherum

Section Campanulata

Section Crinitum

Section Croatianum

Section Erythrotrichum Section Graciliflorum

Section Herposolanum Section Irenosolanum Section Ischyracanthum

Section Lasiocarpa Section Melongena

Section Micracantha Section Monodolichopus

Section Nycterium

Section Oliganthes Section Persicariae Section Polytrichum

Section Pugiunculifera

Section Somalanum

Section Torva



Subgenus Lyciosolanum



Subgenus Solanum sensu stricto



Section Afrosolanum

Section Anarrhichomenum

Section Archaesolanum Section Basarthrum Section Benderianum

Section Brevantherum Section Dulcamara Section Herpystichum

Section Holophylla Section Juglandifolia

Section Lemurisolanum

Section Lycopersicoides Section Lycopersicon



Section Macronesiotes

Section Normania

Section Petota Section Pteroidea

Section Quadrangulare

Section Regmandra

Section Solanum



Other notable species









Formerly placed here

Some plants of yet other genera also were placed in Solanum in former times:

References




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