Herbs or shrubs with alternate leaves. Flowers perfect, regular or nearly so, terminal or axillary, solitary, umbellate, cymose or paniculate. Calyx 5-parted or –toothed. Corolla 5-lobed, rotate to tubular, the lobes valvate or mostly plicate in the bud. Stamens 5, alternate with the corolla–lobes and inserted on the tube. Ovary entire, superior, mostly 2-celled; style 1; stigma terminal. Fruit a berry or capsule. Seeds many.
The family is notorious for a number of species that contain poisonous alkaloids, such as atropine and nicotine. A few furnish useful foods--the tomato, the potato and peppers. Tobacco is also a member, and so is the garden favorite, Petunia. (Dale 191).
A family of over 3000 spp. in almost 100 genera, widely distributed. (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 829).