eastern black nightshade

(Solanum ptychanthum)

Conservation Status
eastern black nightshade
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N3N5 - Vulnerable to Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Eastern black nightshade is a 6 to 24 tall, erect, annual forb that rises from a slender taproot.

The stems are erect and branching and are covered with short, incurved hairs, especially near the top.

The leaves are alternate, egg-shaped to triangular, and ¾ to 3 long, to 2 wide, on long, slender leaf stalks. The margins have 2 to 5 irregular, blunt teeth on the lower half, no teeth on the upper half. There are scattered, short, incurved hairs on the upper and lower surfaces, especially on the lower surface. The underside is green when young, turning purplish or purple with age.

The inflorescence is an umbrella-shaped cluster of 3 to 10 flowers on an ascending stalk (peduncle) up to 1 long arising from the upper portion of the stem, not from leaf axils, and not at the end of the stem.

The individual flowers are on nodding, closely-clustered stalks that originate at more or less the same point at the end of the peduncle. The peduncle and the individual flower stalks are covered with short, incurved hairs. The flowers are from less than ¼ to wide. There are 5 white petals that are widely spreading, eventually curving backward, and form no tube at the base. There are 5 stamens with large yellow anthers projecting from the center of the petals. The anthers converge around the style but are not actually fused together.

The fruit is a berry, green and mottled when young, black or purplish black when ripe. At the base of the fruit the sepals (calyx) has 5 bluntly triangular lobes that are spreading and do not cup the berry.




6 to 24


Flower Color




Similar Species

  Common lamb’s-quarters (Chenopodium album) leaves are whitish on the underside, not purplish.  

Rocky and dry open woods, thickets, openings, lake shores. Disturbed and cultivated areas.




June to October




The leaves and immature berries are poisonous. Ripe berries are not poisonous but should not be eaten.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Solanales (nightshades, bindweeds, gooseweeds, and allies)  


Solanaceae (nightshades)  
  Subfamily Solanoideae (nightshades and allies)  
  Tribe Solaneae (nightshades and jaltomatas)  


Solanum (nightshade)  
  Subgenus Solanum  
  Section Solanum  

This is a highly variable species. The names Solanum nigurm var. virginicum and Solanum americanum are often listed as synonyms. However, a distinction is sometimes made between the varieties. The proper classification of the many varieties of this plant is still a matter of debate. If they are found to be varieties of the same species, the name Solanum ptychanthum, the oldest name to be used, may be the name chosen. For that reason, MinnesotaSeasons.com will follow the example of the Wisconsin State Herbarium and use that name, treating the other names as synonyms.


Subordinate Taxa






Solanum americanum

Solanum nigrum

Solanum nigurm var. virginicum

Solanum ptycanthum


Common Names


black nightshade

common nightshade

deadly nightshade


eastern black nightshade

eastern nightshade

purple nightshade

small-flowered nightshade

West Indian nightshade












The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.



The stalk of a single flower or flower cluster.

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  eastern black nightshade   eastern black nightshade
  eastern black nightshade    


  eastern black nightshade   eastern black nightshade
  eastern black nightshade   eastern black nightshade


  eastern black nightshade    


  eastern black nightshade   eastern black nightshade






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Other Videos
  Nightshade Weeds ID1

Published on Oct 29, 2012

Common Name: Eastern Black Nightshade Latin Name: Solanum ptychantum (L.)

  Black Nightshade Harvest

Uploaded on Dec 4, 2011

Harvesting Black Nightshade from the garden. When to harvest and why.

  European Black Nightshade (Solanum Nigrum) - 2012-09-02

Published on Sep 5, 2012

Solanum nigrum (European Black Nightshade or locally just "black nightshade", Duscle, Garden Nightshade, Hound's Berry, Petty Morel, Wonder Berry, Small-fruited black nightshade or popolo) is a species in the Solanum genus.

De zwarte nachtschade (Solanum nigrum) is een algemeen voorkomende tot 40 cm hoge, eenjarige plant uit de nachtschadefamilie (Solanaceae).

  Weed of the Week #651-Black Nightshade (Air Date 9/26/10)

Uploaded on Oct 1, 2010

Nasty to deal with at harvest, it's our Weed of the Week, Black Nightshade.

  Eastern Nightshade Wild Plant
wayne hu

Published on Sep 7, 2013

This is an weed that grown wildly in my yard. It is a poisonous plant that can cause irritation of digest system if ingested. It belongs to Nightshade family just like tomatoes do.




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