Eastern Black Nightshade: Solanum
An erect summer annual, reaching as much as 1 1/3 feet in height. Eastern black
nightshade is primarily a weed of agronomic crops, pastures, and hay fields that is found
throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
Roots: A taproot with a branched fibrous root system.
|Seedlings: Stems below the
cotyledons (hypocotyls) are covered with small hairs and are green or sometimes tinted
maroon. Cotyledons are green on the upper surface, purple- or maroon-tinted on the lower
||Leaves: Young leaves remain
purple- or maroon-tinted on the undersurface. Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate or
ovate-lanceolate. Leaf margins may be entire or with blunt teeth. Leaf hairiness is
variable, however leaves are most often found to be slightly hairy.
Stems: Branching, round or angular, smooth or only partially
hairy, and becoming woody with age.
|Flowers: Star-shaped (4-10 mm
in diameter), white or purple-tinged, in umbel-like clusters of 5-7.
Fruit: A berry, 5-12 mm in diameter, green when immature,
turning purplish-black at maturity. Berries contain 4-15 sclerotic granules.
|Identifying Characteristics: Cotyledons of
young leaves are purple- or maroon-tinted on the undersurface. Emerging plants might be
confused with Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum
dulcamara) seedlings, however most bittersweet nightshade plants spread via creeping
stems that root at the nodes and do not have a purple- or maroon-tinted leaf undersurface.
Additionally, mature nightshade plants may be distinguished by berry color (eastern
black nightshade: purplish-black; bittersweet nightshade: red).