"Horsenettle" and variants redirect here. If used for a particular species, this name usually applies to the Carolina Horsenettle (S. carolinense).
Brazilian Nightshade (Solanum seaforthianum)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Subfamily: Solanoideae
Tribe: Solaneae
Genus: Solanum

(but see text)


Androcera Nutt.
Aquartia Jacq.
Artorhiza Raf.
Bassovia Aubl.
Battata Hill
Bosleria A.Nelson
Ceranthera Raf.
Cliocarpus Miers
Cyphomandra Mart. ex Sendtn.
Diamonon Raf.
Dulcamara Moench
Lycopersicon Mill.
Melongena Mill.
Normania Lowe
Nycterium Vent.
Ovaria Fabr.
Parmentiera Raf. (non DC.: preoccupied)
Petagnia Raf.
Pheliandra Werderm.
Pseudocapsicum Medik.
Scubulus Raf.
Solanastrum Fabr.
Solanocharis Bitter
Solanopsis Bitter
Triguera Cav.

Solanum, the nightshades, horsenettles and relatives, is a large and diverse genus of annual and perennial plants. They grow as forbs, vines, subshrubs, 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 sections today. Thus, the genus nowadays contains roughly 1,500-2,000 species. The species usually most commonly called nightshade in North America and England is Solanum dulcamara, also called bittersweet and woody nightshade. Its foliage and egg-shaped red berries are poisonous, the active principle being solanine, which can cause convulsions and death if taken in large doses. The black nightshade (S. nigrum) is also generally considered poisonous, but its fully ripened fruit and foliage are cooked and eaten in some areas.

The generic name was first used by Pliny the Elder (23-79) for a plant also known as strychnos, most likely S. nigrum. Its derivation is uncertain, possibly stemming from the Latin word sol, meaning "sun," referring to its status as a plant of the sun. Another possibility is that the root was solare, meaning "to soothe," or solamen, meaning "a comfort," which would refer to the soothing effects of the plant upon ingestion.[2]

Most parts of the plants, especially the green parts and unripe fruit, are poisonous to humans (although 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), pepino (S. muricatum), 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.[3]

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.



The genus was established by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.[4] 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.[4] Many of the subgenera and sections 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.[5]

Subgenus Bassovia

Section Allophylla

Section Cyphomandropsis

  • Solanum glaucophyllum Desf. – Waxy-leaved Nightshade

Section Pachyphylla

Subgenus Leptostemonum

Solanum palinacanthum
Five-minute Plant (S. atropurpureum) fruit
Shrubby Nightshade (S. robustum) flowers
Giant Potatocreeper (S. wendlandii) flowers
Porcupine Tomato (S. pyracanthum) fruit

Section Acanthophora

Section Androceras: 12 spp.[1]

  • Series Androceras
  • Series Violaceiflorum
  • Series Pacificum

Section Anisantherum
Section Campanulata
Section Crinitum
Section Croatianum
Section Erythrotrichum

  • Solanum robustum H.L.Wendl. – Shrubby Nightshade

Section Graciliflorum[verification needed]
Section Herposolanum

  • Solanum wendlandii Hook.f. – Giant Potatocreeper

Section Irenosolanum

  • Solanum incompletum DunalPōpolo kū mai (Hawaiʻi)
  • Solanum nelsonii Dunal – Nelson's Horsenettle, ʻĀkia (Hawaiʻi)
  • Solanum sandwicense Hook. & Arn. – Hawaiian Horsenettle, Pōpoloʻaiakeakua (Oʻahu, Kauaʻi)

Section Ischyracanthum
Section Lasiocarpa

Section Melongena

Section Micracantha

  • Solanum jamaicense Mill. – Jamaican Nightshade
  • Solanum lanceifolium Jacq. – Lance-leaved Nightshade
  • Solanum tampicense Dunal – Wetland Nightshade

Section Monodolichopus
Section Nycterium
Section Oliganthes

Section Persicariae

Section Polytrichum
Section Pugiunculifera
Section Somalanum
Section Torva

Subgenus Lyciosolanum

  • Solanum guineense L.

Subgenus Solanum sensu stricto

Solanum erianthum
Jasmine Nightshade (S. laxum) flowers
Currant Tomato (S. pimpinellifolium) fruit
Andean black potatoes (S. tuberosum)
Turkey Berry (S. torvum) flowers
Yellow Nightshade (S. villosum) fruit

Section Afrosolanum
Section Anarrhichomenum
Section Archaesolanum

Section Basarthrum

  • Solanum muricatum – Pepino dulce, pepino melon, melon pear, "pepino", "tree melon"
  • Solanum tergosericeum[6]

Section Benderianum
Section Brevantherum

  • Solanum bullatum
  • Solanum erianthum D.Don – Potato Tree, "Mullein Nightshade"
  • Solanum mauritianum – Woolly Nightshade, Ear-leaved Nightshade, Flannel Weed, Bugweed, Tobacco Weed, Kerosene Plant, "wild tobacco" (Australia)

Section Dulcamara

  • Solanum crispum – Chilean Potato Vine, Chilean Nightshade, Chilean Potato Tree
  • Solanum dulcamara – Bittersweet
  • Solanum imbaburense
  • Solanum laxum Spreng. – Jasmine Nightshade
  • Solanum leiophyllum
  • Solanum seaforthianum Andrews – Brazilian Nightshade
  • Solanum triquetrum Cav. – Texas Nightshade
  • Solanum wallacei – Wallace's Nightshade, Catalina Nightshade, Clokey's Nightshade, "wild tomato" (including S. clokeyi)
  • Solanum xanti – Purple Nightshade, San Diego Nightshade

Section Herpystichum
Section Holophylla

  • Solanum diphyllum L. – Twin-leaved nightshade
  • Solanum pseudocapsicum – Jerusalem Cherry, Madeira Winter Cherry, "winter cherry" (including S. capsicastrum)
  • Solanum pseudoquina (including S. inaequale Vell.)

Section Juglandifolia
Section Lemurisolanum
Section Lycopersicoides

  • Solanum lycopersicoides Dunal – Peruvian Wolfpeach

Section Lycopersicon

  • Solanum arcanum Peralta – "wild tomato"
  • Solanum cheesmaniae (L.Riley) Fosberg
  • Solanum galapagense S.C.Darwin & Peralta
  • Solanum huaylasense Peralta
  • Solanum lycopersicum – Tomato
  • Solanum peruvianum L. – Peruvian Nightshade, "wild tomato"
  • Solanum pimpinellifolium – Currant Tomato

Section Macronesiotes
Section Normania
Section Petota

Section Pteroidea
Section Quadrangulare
Section Regmandra
Section Solanum

  • Solanum adscendens Sendtner – Sonoita Nightshade (Americas)
  • Solanum americanum Mill. – American Nightshade, American Black Nightshade, Glossy Nightshade (Americas, Hawaiʻi)
  • Solanum chenopodioides Lam. – Goosefoot Nightshade, Slender Nightshade (including S. gracilius)
  • Solanum douglasii Dunal – Green-spotted Nightshade
  • Solanum interius Rydb.
  • Solanum nigrescens M.Martens & Galeotti – Divine Nightshade
  • Solanum nigrum L. – European Black Nightshade, "black nightshade"
  • Solanum pseudogracile Heiser – Glowing Nightshade
  • Solanum ptychanthum – West Indian Nightshade, Eastern Black Nightshade
  • Solanum retroflexum – Wonderberry, Sunberry
  • Solanum sarrachoides – Hairy Nightshade
  • Solanum scabrum Mill. – Garden Huckleberry
  • Solanum triflorum Nutt. – Cut-leaved Nightshade
  • Solanum villosum Mill. – Yellow Nightshade

Other notable species

Forked Nightshade (S. furcatum)
Bluewitch Nightshade (S. umbelliferum) flowers

Formerly placed here

Lycianthes rantonnetii and its congeners were often placed in Solanum

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

  • Chamaesaracha coronopus (as S. coronopus)
  • Lycianthes biflora (as S. multifidum Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don)
  • Lycianthes denticulata (as S. gouakai var. angustifolium and var. latifolium)
  • Lycianthes lycioides (as S. lycioides var. angustifolium)
  • Lycianthes mociniana (as S. uniflorum Dunal in Poir. and S. uniflorum Sessé & Moc.)
  • Lycianthes rantonnetii (as S. rantonnetii, S. urbanum var. ovatifolium and var. typicum)
  • Undetermined species of Lycianthes have been referred to under names such as S. chrysophyllum, S. ciliatum Blume ex Miq., S. corniculatum Hiern, S. lanuginosum, S. loxense, S. mucronatum, S. retrofractum var. acuminatum, S. violaceum Blume, S. violifolium f. typicum, S. virgatum notst ß albiflorum, S. uniflorum Lag. or S. uniflorum var. berterianum.


  1. ^ "Solanum L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  2. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 4 R-Z. Taylor and Francis US. p. 2058. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3. 
  3. ^ Herrera-Arellano, A.; Jiménez-Ferrer, E.; Vega-Pimentel, A.M.; Martínez-Rivera, Mde.L.; Hernández-Hernández, M.; Zamilpa, A. & Tortoriello, J. (2004). "Clinical and mycological evaluation of therapeutic effectiveness of Solanum chrysotrichum standardized extract on patients with Pityriasis capitis (dandruff). A double blind and randomized clinical trial controlled with ketoconazole". Planta Medica 70 (6): 483–488. doi:10.1055/s-2004-827145. PMID 15241887. 
  4. ^ a b "Solanum Phylogeny". Solanaceae Source. Natural History Museum. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  5. ^ Agricultural Research Service (13 April 2006). "Genus: Solanum L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  6. ^ Ochoa, C. M. (2006). Solanum tergosericeum (Solanaceae sect. Basarthrum): A new species from Peru. Phytologia 88:2 212-15.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Solanum — Solanum …   Wikipédia en Français

  • solanum — ⇒SOLANUM, subst. masc. BOT. Genre de plante de la famille des Solanées, comprenant plus de huit cents espèces (dont la pomme de terre, la tomate, le piment) répandues dans les régions chaudes et tempérées. Ces insulaires arrachent les herbes, les …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Solānum — (S. L), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Solanaceae Solaneae, 5. Kl. 1. Ordn. L., mit fünfspaltigem röhrigem Kelche, rad od. radtrichterförmiger Blumenkrone, sich an den Griffel anlehnende Staubfäden mit zweifächerigen Staubbeuteln, welche an… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • solanum — [sō lā′nəm] n. 〚L, nightshade, orig., sun plant < sol: see SOL1〛 any of a large genus (Solanum) of trees, vines, shrubs, and plants of the nightshade family: most are poisonous, but a few are cultivated for food, as the potato and eggplant * * * …   Universalium

  • SOLANUM — planta est, quam Graeci strychnon vocant, cui vis reprimendi, refrigerandique, ut ait Plin. l. 27. c. 13. Imô et maioris baccae devoratae, ut et ipsa radix, straugulandi facultatem habent. Unde, ioci causâ, radix haec parasitis in Aula datur; qui …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • solanum — [sō lā′nəm] n. [L, nightshade, orig., sun plant < sol: see SOL1] any of a large genus (Solanum) of trees, vines, shrubs, and plants of the nightshade family: most are poisonous, but a few are cultivated for food, as the potato and eggplant …   English World dictionary

  • Solanum — So*la num, n. [L., nightshade.] (Bot.) A genus of plants comprehending the potato ({S. tuberosum}), the eggplant ({S. melongena}, and several hundred other species; nightshade. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Solānum — L. (Nachtschatten), Gattung der Solanazeen, niederliegende oder aufrechte Kräuter, Sträucher oder kleine Bäume von sehr verschiedenem Habitus, bisweilen kletternd, oft zottig, sternfilzig oder drüsig behaart, auch stachelig, mit abwechselnden,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Solanum — Solānum L., Nachtschatten, Pflanzengattg. der Solanazeen, über 900 meist trop. amerik. Arten, Kräuter, Sträucher, seltener Bäume. In Europa S. dulcamāra L. (Bittersüß, Mäuseholz, Stinkteufel, Alpranke, Teufelszwirn), Kletterstrauch mit Solanin (s …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Solanum — L., 1753 Género de plantas perteneciente a la familia de las Solanaceae establecido por Linneo en 1753 …   Enciclopedia Universal

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