Eastern black nightshade

August 7, 2015

Solanum ptycanthum Dun.

Life cycle

Erect, branching summer annual.

Eastern black nightshade young plant
Young Eastern black nightshade plant.


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 smooth to irregularly toothed margins.

Eastern black nightshade
Eastern black nightshade seedling.

Eastern black nightshade upper leaf Eastern black nightshade leaf underside
Upper leaf surface of Eastern black nightshade (left). Purplish lower leaf surface of Eastern black nightshade (right).


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.

Eastern black nightshade fruit
Eastern black nightshade mature berries.




All plant parts are toxic to animals.

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