eastern black nightshade

(Solanum emulans)

Conservation Status
eastern black nightshade
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N3N5 - Vulnerable to Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Weed Status

County noxious weed in Steele and Waseca Counties. (MDA approved with restrictions due to it being a native species.)

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


Pests and Diseases






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, 29, 30.









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


Solanum (nightshades)  
  Subgenus Solanum  
  Section Solanum  

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the black nightshade in eastern North America was classified as a single widespread and highly variable species Solanum nigrum. Later it was classified (by some) as Solanum ptychanthum, occurring throughout eastern North America. More recently, it was classified as Solanum emulans, and Solanum ptychanthum is treated as a synonym of Solanum americanum, a species occurring in the United States only in the extreme south and on the West Coast.

Today (2023) there is widespread agreement that Solanum nigrum is the wrong name, but there is little agreement on the correct name.

  • BONAP, USDA PLANTS, ITIS, and NCBI use the name Solanum ptychanthum.
  • GRIN, World Flora Online, and iNaturalist use the name Solanum emulans.
  • GBIF and Plants of the World Online use the name Solanum alatum.
  • MNTaxa and the Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas use the name Solanum nigurm var. virginicum.

Subordinate Taxa






Solanum alatum

Solanum americanum (misapplied)

Solanum nigrum (misapplied)

Solanum nigurm var. virginicum

Solanum ptycanthum (misapplied misspelling)

Solanum ptychanthum (misapplied)


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
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  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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