Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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


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


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".


More Plant Lists Questions

Plants for a Narrow Fence Line in TN
February 03, 2015 - I have a very specific and difficult planting question. I have a narrow strip (about 2 feet at the widest) between my back privacy fence and a wire fence that marks the edge of my property. It is dire...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in Abilene TX
October 29, 2011 - I live in Abilene, Texas. I am trying to find the best plants to fill in an area on the North side of my home, which gets absolutely no sun. The area is sprinklered, and stays fairly moist. I really d...
view the full question and answer

Vines for a Chicago Pergola in Zone 5
November 28, 2015 - I'm looking for some recommendations of vines for my south-facing pergola. I live in a northwest suburb of Chicago, in Zone 5 with heavy clay soil.
view the full question and answer

List of plants native to the Abilene, Texas area
September 15, 2011 - Am looking for direction to a complete list of plants native to the Abilene, Taylor County, Texas area (trees, shrubs, grasses, cacti and other plants that grew here before cultivation, eradication or...
view the full question and answer

Vines to Cover Brush Pile in Maryland
April 29, 2013 - We have a large brush pile on our property that we'd intended to burn, but it is big enough now that it would require the help of the fire department! I'm thinking I'd like to cover it with native ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.