nightshade family

the plant family Solanaceae, characterized by herbaceous plants, trees, shrubs, and vines having alternate, simple or pinnate leaves, conspicuous flowers, and fruit in the form of a berry or capsule, and including belladonna, eggplant, nightshade, peppers of the genus Capsicum, petunia, potato, tobacco, and tomato.

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Family Solanaceae, composed of at least 2,400 species of flowering plants in about 95 genera.

Though found worldwide, the nightshades are most abundant in tropical Latin America. Many are economically important as food or medicinal plants. Among the most important are the potato, eggplant, tomato, garden pepper, tobacco, and many garden ornamentals, including the petunia. The medicinally significant nightshades are potent sources of such alkaloids as nicotine, atropine, and scopolamine; they include deadly nightshade (belladonna), jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), henbane, and mandrake. The genus Solanum contains almost half the species in the family. The species usually called nightshade in North America and England is S. dulcamara, also called bittersweet and woody nightshade.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • nightshade family — noun : solanaceae * * * the plant family Solanaceae, characterized by herbaceous plants, trees, shrubs, and vines having alternate, simple or pinnate leaves, conspicuous flowers, and fruit in the form of a berry or capsule, and including… …   Useful english dictionary

  • nightshade — [nīt′shād΄] n. [ME nichtheschode < OE nihtscada (see NIGHT & SHADE): ? with reference to narcotic qualities] 1. any of a large genus (Solanum) of chiefly tropical plants of the nightshade family, with five lobed leaves and flowers of various… …   English World dictionary

  • nightshade — Any of a number of plants of the genus Solanum (family Solanaceae) and of some other genera of the family Solanaceae. deadly n. SYN: belladonna. * * * night·shade nīt .shād n 1) any plant …   Medical dictionary

  • nightshade — noun Date: before 12th century 1. any of a genus (Solanum of the family Solanaceae, the nightshade family) of herbs, shrubs, and trees having alternate leaves, cymose flowers, and fruits that are berries and including some poisonous weeds,… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • family — /fam euh lee, fam lee/, n., pl. families, adj. n. 1. parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not. 2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family. 3. the spouse and children …   Universalium

  • Nightshade (disambiguation) — Nightshade is the common name for plants in the genus Solanum, and more generally for related plants in the family Solanaceae. Nightshade can also refer to: In fiction Nightshade (Marvel Comics), also known as Dr. Nightshade and Deadly Nightshade …   Wikipedia

  • nightshade — /nuyt shayd /, n. 1. any of various plants of the genus Solanum, esp. the black nightshade or the bittersweet. 2. any of various other related plants, as the deadly nightshade. [bef. 1000; ME; OE nihtscada. See NIGHT, SHADE] * * * ▪ plant  any… …   Universalium

  • Nightshade (comics) — For the Marvel Comics character, see Nightshade (Marvel Comics). Nightshade Nightshade from a portion of the promotional art for Shadowpact #1 cover. Art by Bill Willingham. Publication information …   Wikipedia

  • Nightshade (2003 video game) — For the 8 bit home computer game, see Nightshade (1985 video game). For the Nintendo Entertainment System game, see Nightshade (1991 video game). Nightshade Nightshade cover art …   Wikipedia

  • nightshade — noun /ˈnaɪtʃeɪd/ a) Any of the poisonous plants belonging to the genus Solanum, especially black nightshade or woody nightshade. b) Any plant of the wider Solanaceae family, including the nightshades as well as tomato, potato, eggplant, and… …   Wiktionary

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