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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 14 | Solanaceae

12. Hyoscyamus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 179. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 84. 1754.

Henbane [Greek hyos, hog, and kyamos, bean pod, alluding to use of fruits as hog’s food]

Michael A. Vincent

Herbs, annual, biennial, or perennial, taprooted [rhizomatous], glandular-pubescent [glabrous]. Stems simple or branched. Leaves alternate (basal rosettes and cauline), petiolate (cauline leaves may be sessile or petiolate proximally, sessile distally); blade toothed or lobed. Inflorescences terminal [axillary], racemose [cymose], bracts leaflike. Flowers 5-merous, bilaterally symmetric or slightly irregular; calyx not to slightly accrescent, enclosing fruit, tubular-campanulate [urceolate or cup-shaped], 5-lobed, lobes triangular (lobes shorter than to as long as tube), becoming rigid with rigid or spinescent lobe-tips; corolla yellow or white, throat and veins sometimes purple, bilateral, funnelform; lobes spreading, triangular-ovate, shorter than tube, adaxial lobe usually ± larger; stamens slightly unequal, inserted near base or middle of corolla tube; anthers dorsifixed, ellipsoidal, dehiscing by longitudinal slits (introrse); ovary 2-carpellate, (2-locular); style filiform; stigma capitate, ± 2-lobed. Fruits capsules, ellipsoidal, dehiscence circumscissile. Seeds ovate-subreniform, flattened, (surface reticulate to honeycombed, dull or shiny). x = 14, 17.

Species 23 (2 in the flora): introduced; Eurasia; n Africa; introduced also in South America, s Africa, Australia.

Species of Hyoscyamus sometimes are cultivated as ornamentals. They contain toxic alkaloids, including hyoscyamine and scopolamine, which may have medical applications (M. F. Roberts and M. Wink 1998; W. H. Lewis and M. P. F. Elvin-Lewis 2003).

1 Mid and distal cauline leaves sessile, blade bases clasping; corolla veins purple   1 Hyoscyamus niger
+ Cauline leaves all petiolate, blade bases not clasping; corolla veins pale   2 Hyoscyamus albus

Lower Taxa


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