- "Horsenettle" and variants redirect here. If used for a particular species, this name usually applies to the Carolina Horsenettle (S. carolinense).
- For the "Solanum Virus", see The Zombie Survival Guide.
Solanum, the nightshades, horsenettles and relatives, is a large and diverse genus of annual and perennial plants. They grow as forbs, vines, sub-shrubs, 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.
In particular the green parts (including unripe fruit) are often poisonous to humans, though not necessarily to other animals. But many bear edible 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), 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 employed them since long and know how to avoid poisonings. Giant Devil's-fig (S. chrysotrichum) has been shown to be an effective treatment for seborrhoeic dermatitis in a scientific study.
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. 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. 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.
- Solanum aculeastrum – Soda Apple, Sodaapple Nightshade, Goat Apple, Poison Apple, "bitter-apple"
- Solanum campechiense – Redberry Nightshade
- Solanum carolinense – Carolina Horsenettle, Radical Weed, Sand Brier, Devil's Tomato, "bull nettle", "tread-softly", "apple of Sodom", "wild tomato"
- Solanum citrullifolium – Watermelon Nightshade
- Solanum dimidiatum Raf. – Torrey's Nightshade
- Solanum elaeagnifolium – Silver-leaved Nightshade, Prairie Berry, Silverleaf Nettle, White Horsenettle, Silver Nightshade, "bull-nettle", "trompillo" (Spanish); Silver-leaf bitter-apple, satansbos (South Africa)
- Solanum heterodoxum Dunal – Melon-leaved Nightshade
- Solanum incanum L.
- Solanum linnaeanum – Devil's Apple, "apple of Sodom"
- Solanum macrocarpon L.
- Solanum marginatum L.f. – White-margined Nightshade
- Solanum melongena – Eggplant, Aubergine (including S. ovigerum)
- Solanum rostratum Dunal – Buffalo Bur, Texas Thistle
- Solanum sisymbriifolium – Sticky Nightshade, fire-and-ice
- Solanum virginianum L.
- Solanum aethiopicum – Ethiopian Eggplant, Nakati, Mock Tomato, Ethiopian Nightshade; including S. gilo (Scarlet Eggplant, Gilo or jiló)
- Solanum centrale – Australian Desert Raisin, Bush Raisin, Bush Sultana, "bush tomato", akatjurra (Alyawarre), kampurarpa (Pitjantjatjara), merne akatyerre (Arrernte), kutjera
- Solanum cleistogamum – "bush tomato", merne mwanyerne (Arrernte)
- Solanum ellipticum – Potato Bush, "bush tomato"
- Solanum pyracanthon Lam. – Porcupine Tomato, Devil's Thorn
- Solanum quadriloculatum – "bush tomato", "wild tomato" (Australia)
Subgenus Solanum sensu stricto
Other notable species
Formerly placed here
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 rantonnei (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.
- (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. (HTML abstract)
- : Phylogeny Retrieved 2008-OCT-01.
- (2006): Germplasm Resources Information Network – Solanum Version of 2006-APR-13. Retrieved 2008-OCT-01.