The solanaceae as food: A natural history of the potato family

By Sandra Knapp

Petunia hybrida

Close-up of the flower of the cultivated petunia, Petunia hybrida.

Potatoes, tomatoes and a host of other important fruit crops all belong to the Solanaceae plant family. But so do mandrakes, daturas and other poisonous and important medicinal plants. Sandra Knapp, of the department of botany at The Natural History Museum, explores the incredible diversity of this amazing plant family, focusing in part one on their use for food, and then for drugs and medicine in part two. Her study demonstrates the considerable contribution these species have made to humankind, in both positive and negative ways.

The solanaceae as food: A natural history of the potato family PDF (97.3 KB)

Cartoon image of a snake disappearing through closing door

There are 27 km of specimen shelves in the Darwin Centre - the same distance as between the Museum and Junction 6 of the M1.