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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Solanales

Familia: Solanaceae
Subfamilia: Solanoideae
Tribus: Hyoscyameae
Genus: Atropa
Species: A. acuminata – A. baetica – A. belladonna – A. komarovii – A. pallidiflora
Nothospecies: A. × martiana

Atropa L., Sp. Pl. 1: 181 (1753), Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 85 (1754).

Lectotype species: A. belladonna L. (designated by Hitchcock, Prop. Brit. Bot.: 132 (1929))


Belladona Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr. ed. 4 (1754). BHL


Belladonna Sweet (1830) = Amaryllis L.
Belladonna (Sweet ex Endl.) Sweet ex Harv. (1838) = Amaryllis L.

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 181. Reference page.
Linnaeus, C. 1754. Genera Plantarum, ed. 5: 85. Reference page.

Additional references

Hitchcock, A.S. & Green, M.L. 1929. Standard species of Linnaean genera of Phanerogamae (1753–1754). pp. 111–195 in International Botanical Congress. Cambridge (England), 1930. Nomenclature. Proposals by British Botanists. His Majesty's Stationery Office, London. Biblioteca Digital Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Atropa in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Nov 20. Reference page. 2021. Atropa. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 20 Nov 2021.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Atropa. Published online. Accessed: 20 Nov 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. . Atropa. Accessed: 20 Nov 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Atropa. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Nov 20. Reference page.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Atropa in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 15 Jan 2018.
Mansfeld's World Database of Agriculture and Horticultural Crops

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Xanımotu
Boarisch: Tóikirschen
беларуская: Красаўка
čeština: rulík
Deutsch: Tollkirschen
suomi: Belladonnat
������: ������
hornjoserbsce: Rulik
հայերեն: Մահամորմ
Lëtzebuergesch: Juddekiischt
lietuvių: Šunvyšnė
русский: Красавка
slovenčina: ľuľkovec
svenska: Belladonnor
తెలుగు: అట్రోపా
中文: 颠茄属

Atropa is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae: tall, calcicole, herbaceous perennials (rhizomatous hemicryptophytes), bearing large leaves and glossy berries particularly dangerous to children, due to their combination of an attractive, cherry-like appearance with a high toxicity.[2] Atropa species favour temperate climates and alkaline soils, often growing in light shade in woodland environments associated with limestone hills and mountains.[3][4] Their seeds can remain viable in the soil for long periods, germinating when the soil of sites in which plants once grew (but from which plants have long been absent) is disturbed by human activity[5] or by natural causes, e.g. the windthrow of trees (a property shared by the seeds of other Solanaceae in tribe Hyoscyameae e.g. those of Hyoscyamus spp., the henbanes).[6] The best-known member of the genus Atropa is deadly nightshade (A. belladonna) - the poisonous plant par excellence in the minds of many.[7] The pharmacologically active ingredients of Atropa species include atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine, all tropane alkaloids having anticholinergic, deliriant, antispasmodic and mydriatic properties.[citation needed] The genus is named for Άτροπος (Atropos) - lit. 'she who may not be turned (aside)' - one of the Three Fates and cutter of the thread of life / bringer of death - in reference to the extreme toxicity of A.belladonna and its fellow species - of which three others are currently accepted.[8][9]

In some older classifications, the mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) has been placed in the genus Atropa, under the binomial Atropa mandragora.

Atropa acuminata Royle ex Lindl. – Indian belladonna/maitbrand (Kashmir and adjoining regions of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, also N. Iran). Endangered. Accepted species.
Atropa acuminata Royle ex Miers – (not an accepted species, though probably referable to the species above) is reported to occur not only in Kashmir, but also in Iran and Mongolia - which would make it the easternmost of the Atropa species, and possibly of disjunct distribution.
Atropa baetica Willk. – Andalusian belladonna / tabaco gordo / tabba (S. and S.E. Spain and W. North Africa). Endangered. Accepted species.
Atropa belladonna L. – Belladonna/deadly nightshade (Europe, Western Asia and North Africa). A very variable species with a very extensive distribution, the which factors have contributed to the description of species not currently accepted. A.belladonna itself is an accepted species.
Atropa belladonna ssp. caucasica (Kreyer)Avet. – Caucasian Belladonna ( Caucasus, Turkey, Iran, Balkans(?)).
Atropa komarovii Blin.& Shalyt – Turkmenistan belladonna (Kopet Dag range dividing Iran from Turkmenistan and adjoining regions in N.E. (Caspian) Iran).
Atropa pallidiflora Schönb.-Tem. – Hyrcanian belladonna (Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests, notably those of Mazandaran Province, N. Iran, also Afghanistan). Accepted species.[10][11]

The genus Atropa is currently under review, so changes in nomenclature are likely, once said review is complete. It will be seen from the above that there is an overlap in the respective distributions of A. acuminata, A. komarovii and A. pallidiflora in the lush Hyrcanian forests of Northern Iran, and it is possible that some or all of these species may yet be subsumed in the concept Atropa belladonna. A. belladonna itself (including its variety caucasica) is also present in the Hyrcanian forests and vol. 100 of Flora Iranica includes a useful key with which to distinguish the four species occurring in northern Iran. Data on A. pallidiflora and A. acuminata Royle ex Miers are neither abundant nor readily accessible on the Internet at present. The reported presence of an Atropa species in Mongolia is intriguing, given that country's relative remoteness from Kashmir and its (Kashmir's) well-attested population of Atropa acuminata Royle ex Lindl. The unequivocal presence of Atropa in the Eastern Himalaya would go at least some way to bridging the gap between Kashmiri and Mongolian populations of this genus. Some light might be cast upon this problem by the gaining of a better knowledge of the rare and poorly-known monotypic genus Pauia, found in Arunachal Pradesh and adjoining areas of Assam. The single species Pauia belladonna Deb and Dutta is described as bearing a marked similarity to Atropa acuminata Royle ex Lindl. and may yet prove to be referable to the genus Atropa, after all.[12]

"Atropa L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants : A Handbook for Pharmacists, Doctors, Toxicologists, and Biologists by Frohne, Dietrich and Pfänder, Hans Jürgen of University of Kiel, translated from second German edition by Norman Grainger Bisset, London : a Wolfe Science Book and one of the volumes in the illustrated series Wolfe Atlases, pub. Wolfe Publishing Ltd. 1984.
Flora Europaea, Tutin T.G., Heywood V.H. and Burgess N.A. pub. Cambridge University Press 2010 ISBN 0521154065
Flora Iberica
HERRERA, C.M.(1987). Distribucion, ecologia y conservacion de Atropa baetica Willk. (Solanaceae) en la Sierra de Cazorla. Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 43(2):387-398.
Flora Britannica pps. 300-301, Mabey, Richard, pub. Sinclair-Stevenson 1996
Largo, Michael (18 August 2014). "Big, Bad Botany: Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna), the Poisonous A-Lister". Retrieved 24 September 2018 – via Slate.
"Atropa — The Plant List". Retrieved 24 September 2018.
The Biology and Taxonomy of the Solanaceae edited by Hawkes, J.G., Lester, R.N. and Skelding, A.D. (Linnean Society Symposium Series Number 7) Published for the Linnean Society of London by Academic Press 1979.
Rechinger, Karl Heinz and Schönbeck-Temesy, Eva 1972. Solanaceae. Nº 100 de Flora Iranica : Flora des iranischen Hochlandes und der umrahmenden Gebirge; Persien, Afghanistan, Teile von West-Pakistan, Nord-Iraq, Azerbaidjan, Turkmenistan. 102 pp.[bare URL PDF]
Armando T. Hunziker: The Genera of Solanaceae. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag K.G., Ruggell, Liechtenstein 2001. ISBN 3-904144-77-4.

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