Solanaceae is the nightshade family and according to my Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, there are 90 genera and 2,000 species.
Well, that was published in 1976 and I wonder if some of those numbers may have changed, but that’s still a plethora of species. The genus Solanum alone has close to 1,700 species. Yikes!
And think about all the plants we know in the family that we find in our gardens like tomatoes, eggplant, chiles, tomatillos. I don’t know if you grow tobacco, but it’s a nightshade and if you plant petunias, well, they are in the family too. But then there are a whole slew of native plants in the family as well. So many to talk about, but I picked Datura wrightii (formerly meteloides) because of it’s range of 1,000’ to 6,500’ in elevation all around you and me in the borderlands. The flowers are simply gorgeous, but the plant is so common I think we forget how beautiful it is and how lucky we are to have it in our landscapes, both wild and urban. I confess that I grow it and sell it at the Bisbee Farmers Market spring through the fall. Sales aren’t huge, but it could happen.
A couple notes: If you are into growing Datura for your yard, you can also find seed in catalogs of double blooming species or cultivars with yellow or purple flowers. Double in this case means a flower in a flower. Pretty cool. If you look at my photo of the plant that’s in flower you can see an unopened or furled blossom just above the open flowers. The Datura flower behind Farley’s nose was chewed on by an insect before it unfurled cutting all the way through the flower and thus the neat pattern. Insects can be artists too.