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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - August 15, 2015

From: Monrovia, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists
Title: Perennials in the Family Solanaceae (Potato or Nightshade Family)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, What plants, in the Night shade (Solanaceae) family, are Perennials? Thank you! Kristy.

ANSWER:

You can do a search in our Native Plant Database to determine the answer for yourself for Solanaceae native to North America.  First of all, on the Native Plant Database homepage in the blue rectangle choose Solanaceae from the Family menu.  This will result in a list of 68 plants in the Family Solanaceae known to be native to North America.  Next, use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH menu in the sidebar to choose "Perennial" from the Lifespan option and you will have a list of 46 native Solanaceae species.  You can also limit the list to location, bloomtime, etc., by using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH menu.  For instance, if you select "California" in the Select State or Province option, it narrows the list to 21 native, perennial Solanaceae species that grow in California.

If you are looking for information about non-native species that grow in North America you can do a search on the USDA Plants Database.  On the homepage, select Advanced Search from the menu on the sidebar.  On the homepage for Advanced Search, under 2. Taxonomy select "Solanaceae" from the Family option; under 3. Ecology select "Perennial" from Duration and "Any" from Native Status to see both native and introduced plants or select "Introduced to PLANTS Floristic Area" to see only non-natives.  For all of these choices you need to check the box beside the choice that says "Display".   You might also want to check the "Display" box beside National Common Name under 2.  Taxonomy.  There are many other choices you can make in the Advanced Search homepage, if you so choose.  After you have made all your choices you need to scroll to the bottom of Part A or to the bottom of the page and click on the yellow box for "See Results".

 

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