What Are Some Nightshade Vegetables and Fruits?

Vegetables in the nightshade family include potatoes, peppers and eggplants. Fruits in the family include tomatoes, tomatillos, goji berries and ground cherries. Although other members of the family, such as deadly nightshade, are well known for their high toxicity, edible fruits and vegetables in the family have only trace amounts of the poisonous glycoalkaloids and are safe to eat for most people.

The two most commonly eaten genera in the family are Solanum, which includes the potato, eggplant and tomato, and Capsicum, which includes the peppers. Sweet potatoes and yams are not members of the family. Both sweet and spicy peppers are members, and many common spices come from these peppers, including cayenne, paprika and chili powder. In addition to the purple eggplant that is common in the United States, a variety of Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Indian eggplants belong to the family as well. Berries in the family are notable for their nutritional values, especially goji berries, which are rich sources of vitamins and antioxidants.

Other less common fruits and vegetables in the family include naranjillas, pepinos and garden huckleberries. Nightshade plants grow naturally on every continent except Antarctica, and the edible varieties, especially potatoes, represent some of the most widely consumed global crops. Other commonly planted members of the family include tobacco plants and petunias.