Wildflowers – Black Nightshade

Black nightshade is a herb or small shrub with yellow and white flowers and dull black or purple berries. It should not be confused with its relative Deadly Nightshade.

Black nightshade is found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats. It is thought of as a troublesome weed in most agricultural or horticultural situations.

The seeds of the plant are very durable and in normal circumstances have an almost 100% germination rate. Even seeds dug up from 80 year old sediment are said to have germinated. This gives the plant a survival advantage.

The flowers have white petals that curve backwards when fully developed and a prominent yellow anthers. After flowering the plant develops clusters of round dark green berries that are matt black when ripe.

All parts of the plant are toxic as they contain Solanine although the unripe green berries contain more than other parts. Some varieties of the plant are edible after cooking and it is used as a famine food in Africa but only when needed.

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