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Solanum ptycanthum (Eastern black nightshade)
Cliffe, Harry

Solanum ptycanthum

Solanum ptycanthum Dunal

Eastern Black Nightshade, West Indian Nightshade, Common Nightshade, Black Nightshade

Solanaceae (Potato Family)

Synonym(s): Solanum ptychanthum

USDA Symbol: sopt7

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (I), HI (I), VI (I), CAN (N)

A smooth plant with few-flowered, lateral umbels of small, white, star-like, drooping flowers.

This native species, which some authorities claim includes S. americanum, often appears in open areas. Other similar nightshades with small white flowers include the western and Great Plains species Cut-leaved Nightshade (S. triflorum), with deeply dissected leaves, which occurs from the West Coast to Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri and occasionally eastward, and Hairy Nightshade (S. villosum), with very hairy stems and yellow or red berries, which occurs sporadically from Maine south to Florida.

Some authorities accept the orthographic variant, Solanum ptychanthum.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: White to faintly bluish.


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CT , DC , DE , FL , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: AB , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Alberta east to Newfoundland, south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to North Dakota; also in parts of West.
Native Habitat: Cultivated and disturbed areas and open woods.


Warning: The leaves and berries contain a poisonous alkaloid, solanine, and should not be ingested. Although the plant is sometimes called Deadly Nightshade, its toxin is not fatal. However, the berries are attractive to children and can cause poisoning if eaten.
Attracts: Birds
Poisonous: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX

Web Reference

Webref 80 - Illinois Wildflowers (2002) John Hilty
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Solanum ptycanthum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Solanum ptycanthum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Solanum ptycanthum


Record Modified: 2023-05-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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