Herbs, shrubs, small trees, or climbers. Stems and leaves with included phloem, sometimes prickly or thorny; hairs simple, branched, or stellate, sometimes glandular. Leaves alternate, solitary or paired, simple or pinnately compound, entire, dentate, lobed, or divided; stipules wanting. Inflorescences terminal and overtopped by continuing axes but usually appearing axillary, extra-axillary, or leaf opposed, often apparently umbellate, racemose, paniculate, clustered, or solitary flowers. Flowers mostly bisexual, mostly 5-merous; calyx mostly lobed partway; petals united; stamens inserted within corolla, alternating with the lobes, alike or 1 or more reduced, the anthers dehiscing longitudinally or by apical pores; ovary 2-5-locular, the placentation mostly axile with numerous ovules, the style single, terminal. Fruit a berry or capsule; seeds with copious endosperm, the embryo mostly curved, the fruiting calyx mostly persistent, often becoming enlarged.
About 95 genera with 2300 species; best represented in western tropical America, widespread in temperate and tropical regions; in Taiwan 10 genera (seven introduced), 30 species and one variety. Some species are cultivated as ornamentals, medicinals or crop plants. Among these are eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, petunias, and tobacco.
Kuang, K. Z., A. M. Lu, C. Y. Wu & S. C. Huang. 1978. Solanaceae. In K.-Z Kuang & A.-M. Lu (eds.), Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae 67(1):1-175.
Zhang, Z. Y., A. M. Lu and W. D'Arcy. 1994. Solanaceae. In Z. Y. Wu & P. H. Raven (eds.), Flora of China 17: 300-322.