Scopolia carniolica is a member of the Solanaceae family. This group of more than 3,000 species includes economically important plants such as potatoes, tomatoes and peppers as well as many ornamental (Cestrum, Petunia) and medicinal (Atropa, Mandragora, Datura) plants.
Most members of the family occur in the tropics, but a small group of seven genera known as ‘hyoscyaminous plants’ is distributed in Eurasia with the centre of diversity in the Hengduan Mountains in south-west China.
Scopolia belongs to this unusual solanaceous tribe, together with Anisodus, Atropanthe, Hyoscyamus, Archihyoscyamus, Physochlaina and Przewalskia. These genera form a well defined phylogenetic group united by such characters as:
Although great importance is attributed to the presence of a circumscissile capsule in the hyoscyaminous tribe, some researchers believe that two genera with berries as fruits - Atropa and Mandragora - should also be included in the group.
Since the original publication of Scopolia in 1764, more than ten species have been described within the genus. But most of them have since been confirmed as S. carniolica, or transferred to Anisodus and Atropanthe.
Today the genus Scopolia comprises just two species:
Apart from the geographical difference, S japonica is distinguished from S. carniolica by:
Group of sepals.
Group of petals.
Structures that develop into seeds when fertilised.
Part of the nervous system that regulates muscle contraction.
Species that were formerly widespread but now only occupy small areas.
Underground stem of a plant.