Uses of Solanaceae

Topics: Solanaceae, Faboideae, Medicinal plants Pages: 3 (896 words) Published: September 10, 2010
Members of Solanaceae provide a variety of culinary, medicinal, and ornamental values. In terms of culinary value, the most important species of this family for the global diet is the potato or Solanum tuberosum, whose carbohydrate-rich tubers have been a staple food in many times and places, and which is one of the most grown crops today. In many genera, the fruits are the desirable item, for example, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, uchuva, and peppers, such as chili pepper. Medicinally, as well as in terms of poisoning and psychotropic effects, members of Solanaceae have been prized for their alkaloid content and used throughout history (NHM 2008). Important drug plants include deadly nightshade or belladonna (Atropa belladonna), jimson weed (Datura stramonium), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) (NHM 2008). Mandrake, the common name for members of the plant genus Mandragora, contains deliriant hallucinogenic tropane alkaloids such as hyoscyamine and the roots sometimes contain bifurcations causing them to resemble human figures, leading to this plant being used in magic rituals and neopagan religions such as Wicca. As ornamental plants, the genera Petunia, Schizanthus (butterfly flower), Salpiglossis (painted or velvet tongue), and Browallia (Bush violet, Jamaican forget-me-not) are well-known (NHM 2008). Some plants also are the focus of extensive biological study as model experimental organisms, including the petunia, tobacco plant, tomato, and potato (NHM 2008). While very popular, some people experience sensitivity or allergy-like symptoms in response to nightshade plants. USES OF LILIACEAE Lilies are highly prized as house and garden ornamentals, and many of the most beautiful of these belong to the genus Lilium, the namesake of the family Many lilies have enchanting fragrances that are sometimes extracted for use in perfumes. There was a hysterical rush to raise and breed new and rarer varieties of tulips. Speculators invested...
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