Petunia is genus of 35 species of flowering plants of South American origin, closely related to tobacco, cape gooseberries, tomatoes, deadly nightshades, potatoes and chili peppers; in the family Solanaceae. The popular flower of the same name derived its epithet from the French, which took the word petun, meaning 'tobacco,' from a TupiGuarani language. Most of the varieties seen in gardens 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. The species was first sent from South America to Paris in 1823. P. integrifolia has a somewhat weedy habit, spreading stems with upright tips, and small lavender to purple flowers.
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