Solanaceae image
Kurt Stüber  

Key to Wisconsin Solanaceae

Author: Theodore S. Cochrane

    • 1a.Stem ascending to arching, spreading, or vine-like, armed with short thorns at some nodes; inflorescences fascicles of 2 to 4 (7) flowers on reduced peduncles (or 1 or 2 flowers on long axillary pedicels); corolla pale lavender or purplish to greenish (drying brown); fruit a salmon-red berry Lycium

    • 1b.Stem erect or ascending or (in Petunia and Solanum dulcamara) prostrate, ascending, or clambering, usually without spines (spiny in 2 species of Solanum); inflorescences, corolla, and fruit various 2

    • 2a.Corolla funnelform to trumpet-shaped; fruit a capsule 3

    • 2b. Corolla ± rotate or broadly campanulate; fruit a juicy or semi-dry berry 5

    • 3a.Flowers borne in terminal panicles; corolla with short whitish tube and greenish yellow limb, 1–2 cm long, tightly spiraled and pleated in bud; calyx persisting intact and enclosing the capsule Nicotiana

    • 3b.Flowers solitary in the axils of leaves or bracts, forks of branches, or the peduncle seldom between nodes; corolla 2.5–20 cm long; calyx various 4

    • 4a. Calyx ca. 2.5–10 (–11.5) cm long, splitting transversely near the base after flowering, the apical portion deciduous; capsules prickly or almost unarmed; corolla spirally twisted and pleated in bud, white or sometimes lavender to violet Datura

    • 4b.Calyx 1.2–1.8 cm long, remaining intact after flowering; capsules unarmed; corolla pleated toward the tip in bud but not spirally twisted, shades of blue or purple to red, pink, or parti-color or sometimes yellow or white Petunia

    • 5a. Anthers connivent or lightly connate into a conical tube around the style, dehiscing by apical pores or short slits; calyx scarcely enlarged in fruit, subtending but not enclosing the berry; corolla deeply lobed Solanum

    • 5b. Anthers free and separate, dehiscing by longitudinal slits; calyx enlarged in fruit, largely to completely enclosing the berry; corolla nearly without lobes to entire 6

    • 6a. Flowers all or mostly in clusters of 2 to 4 in leaf axils; corolla white with a pale yellow to greenish or brownish yellow, star-shaped center; calyx obscurely if at all angled or ribbed, becoming enlarged but not inflated, closely clothing the berry but open at the summit Leucophysalis

    • 6b. Flowers solitary, arising in or near leaf axils; calyx 5- or 10-angled or 10-ribbed, becoming bladdery-inflated and reticulate-veiny, loosely but completely enclosing the berry 7

    • 7a. Corolla blue or pale blue; calyx parted to or below the middle, with 5 angular basal auricles; ovaries 3- to 5-locular Nicandra

    • 7b.Corolla yellowish to lemon yellow (whitish in P. alkekengi), often with reddish to purplish brown spots within, these sometimes merged into a ring; calyx shallowly lobed at the summit, lacking basal auricles; ovaries 2-locular Physalis

A large and important family, valued not only for the many edible vegetables and fruits it provides, such as species of Solanum (white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant) and Capsicum (sweet, hot, and chili peppers) but also garden and greenhouse ornamentals, medicinal plants, and tobacco. Many species contain potent alkaloids, and some are highly poisonous. One such example is Hyoscyamus niger L., henbane, source of hyoscyamine and scopolamine, collected once as a rare weed in a Sheboygan coal yard in 1914. It has large, shallowly pinnatilobed leaves and prominent corollas that are purple-reticulate on a pale yellow-green background.