Eastern black nightshade – Solanum ptycanthum

Eastern black nightshade

Solanum ptycanthum Dun.
Solanaceae (Nightshade family)

Life cycle

Erect, branching summer annual.


Seedlings have small, egg-shaped cotyledons with a pointed tip and a purplish tinge underneath followed by alternate, petiolated, simple leaves. First leaves are generally smooth, egg-shaped with wavy margins and a purplish tinge underneath; later leaves are slightly hairy, egg- to diamond-shaped with entire to irregularly toothed margins.


Erect and branching, up to 3-foot-tall stems with few hairs.

Flowers and fruit

Flowers are white to purple tinged, star-shaped with five petals fused at the base surrounding five bright yellow anthers; found in downward facing clusters. Berries are glossy black at maturity and globe-shaped, and contain up to 110 seeds.




All plant parts are toxic to animals.

Similar weeds

Bittersweet nightshade (S. dulcamara L.)
Differs by having a vining, perennial habit; leaves that are oval to egg-shaped with pointed tips, smooth margins and usually two basal lobes; and purple to blue flowers that yield bright red, oval berries at maturity.

Eastern black nightshade fruit
Eastern black nightshade leaf
Eastern black nightshade underside of leaf
Eastern black nightshade young plant
Eastern black nightshade seedling

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