Nightshade

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Solanaceae
Brugmansia lg.jpg
A flowering Brugmansia x insignis
from the US Botanic Garden
Scientific classification
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Solanaceae

The nightshades (Solanaceae) are a family of flowering plants.

Many members of the family contain potent alkaloids, and some are highly toxic. Many—including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell and chili peppers, and tobacco—are used as food.

So, though many members of the family are edible, some are poisonous. Very often, only certain parts of the plant are edible.

Well-known members of this family are chili peppers, petunias, deadly nightshade, mandrakes, potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines (eggplants) and tobacco.

Because it is thought that nightshades can cause or increase swelling and pain, many people do not eat them. The function of poisons in plants is as a defence against herbivory.