Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Silverleaf Nightshade: Solanum eleagnifolium

Weed Description:  A perennial from rhizomes with distinctive silver or grayish leaves and purple to blue flowers.   Silverleaf nightshade is primarily a weed of agronomic crops, pastures, hay fields, and roadsides that is distributed throughout the southeastern United States.

Seedlings:  Cotyledons are linear and covered with hairs.   Stems below the cotyledons (hypocotyls) are covered with hairs and often purple-tinged.

Leaves:  Arranged alternately along the stem, linear to oblong in outline, ranging from 2 to 6 inches in length.   Leaves are covered with star-shaped hairs and have a silver to grayish cast.

Stems:  Stems may reach as much as 3 1/3 feet in height.   Stems are branching and usually have spines.  Stems also have a silver to grayish cast and are covered with star-shaped hairs.

Roots:  Fibrous roots with rhizomes.

Flowers:  Consist of purple to blue petals and a yellow center (anthers) that collectively resemble a star.   Flowers occur in clusters at the ends of stems.

Fruit: A round berry, approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter.  Berries are green when immature and turn yellow to brown with maturity.

Identifying Characteristics: The grayish or silvery cast that is typical of the leaves and stems of silverleaf nightshade helps to distinguish this weed from most others.