Eastern black nightshade

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 entire to irregularly toothed margins.

Eastern black nightshade seedling Eastern black nightshade leaf Eastern black nigthshade
Eastern black nightshade seedling (left). Upper leaf surface of eastern black nightshade (middle). Puplish 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 mature berries
Eastern black nightshade mature berries.




All plant parts are toxic to animals.

Similar weeds

Bittersweet nightshade (S. dulcamara L.) Differs by having a vining, perennial habit; leaves that are oval to egg-shaped with pointed tips, smooth margins and usually two basal lobes; and purple to blue flowers that yield bright red, oval berries at maturity.

bittersweet nightshade mature fruit Bittersweet nightshade leaf
Mature berries of bittersweet nightshade (left). Bittersweet nightshade leaf (right).

bittersweet nightshade flower
Bittersweet nightshade flower.

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