Authors: Shilpa Devi and Arvind Nagar
Division of vegetable Science, IARI, New Delhi, 110012
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The family Solanaceae, or nightshades, is an economically important family of flowering plants. The family ranges from annual and perennial herbs to vines, or either shrubs, and trees, including a number of important vegetable crops like tomato, pepper, eggplant, white and red potato, and tomatillo. This family also contains several plants that are considered toxic to humans being such as the weeds jimsonweed, nightshade and mandrake. Many members of the family contain potent alkaloids that are having immense value by considering its nutritional value. The family belongs to the order Solanales, in the asterid group dicotyledons (Magnoliopsida). The solanaceae consists of approximately 98 genera and about 2,700 species, with a great diversity in their habitats, morphology and ecology.
Worldwide 53% of children are malnourished and underweight with 40% of them living in India. Solanaceous vegetable crops are important source of vitamin C, A, E, thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, folacin, minerals and dietry fibres which play a significant role in human nutrition and helps to cope with malnutrition.
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