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Petunia is a widely-cultivated genus of flowering plants of South American origin, closely related with tobacco, cape gooseberries, tomatoes, deadly nightshades, potatoes and chili peppers; in the family solanaceae. Most of the varieties seen in gardens and campuses are hybrids (Petunia × hybrida).

The origin of P. × hybrida is thought to be by hybridisation between P. axillaris (the large white or night-scented petunia) and P. integrifolia (the violet-flowered petunia). P. axillaris bears night-fragrant, buff-white blossoms with long, thin tubes and somewhat flattened openings.

                                                                                                            Petunia × hybrida

P. integrifolia has a somewhat weedy habit, spreading stems with upright tips, and small lavender to purple flowers. A wide range of flower colours, sizes, and plant architectures are available in both the hybrid and open-pollinated species.

Generally petunias are insect pollinated with the exception of P. exserta, which is a rare, red-flowered, hummingbird pollinated species. Most petunias are diploid with 14 chromosomes and are infertile with other petunia species.




         Petunia × hybrida