Purple Petunia in NYC

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Purple petunia, (Petunia x hybrida).

Photographed while walking to the library along Amsterdam Avenue
on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, NYC.

Sorry, this isn't the best picture I've ever taken.

Image: GrrlScientist, 22 May 2009 [larger view].

Petunias are trumpet-shaped flowers produced by plant species in the genus, Petunia. Petunia species are native to South America. The precise relationships between and among petunias are still not clear, and the entire family, Solanaceae, is reclassified as new information becomes available. However, it is known that Petunias are closely related to tobacco, tomato, and potato plants, all of which are in the same family.

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That flower has its genitals hanging out - quick, cover it with a fig leaf!

At first I thought it was a Morning Glory, but the foliage behind it is definitely the familiar petunia. How is the petunia related to the tobacco or tomato though? The potato/morning glory/deadly nightshade at least have similar looking flowers (which in itself doesn't really prove anything) but I would never imagine tobacco or tomatoes being related.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 25 May 2009 #permalink

>>How is the petunia related to the tobacco or tomato though?

They share certain basic characteristics including floral organization. Morning glory is a different family, although they are a sister group to the nightshades, so there is a certain similarity. Tomatoes, potatoes, and deadly nightshade are even all in the same genus Solanum, but it's a big genus. Their flowers are all very similar. Tobacco & petunia have similar flowers as well.