Black Nightshade, American Black Nightshade, Eastern Black Nightshade, West Indian Black Nightshade
so-LAN-num (so-LAY-num) a-mer-ih-KAY-num
Synonyms of Solanum americanum (53) (Updated on 12-18-21 from Pants of the World Online): Solanum amarantoides Dunal, Solanum americanum var. nodiflorum (Jacq.) Edmonds, Solanum americanum subsp. nodiflorum (Jacq.) R.J.F.Hend., Solanum americanum subsp. nutans (R.J.F.Hend.) R.J.F.Hend., Solanum americanum var. odishense Kalidass & P.Murugan, Solanum americanum var. patulum (L.) Edmonds, Solanum asperum Hornem. ex Walp., Solanum calvum Bitter, Solanum curtipes Bitter, Solanum depilatum Bitter, Solanum desvauxii Ham., Solanum dillenii Schult., Solanum erythrocarpon G.Mey., Solanum imerinense Bitter, Solanum inconspicuum Bitter, Solanum indecorum A.Rich., Solanum inops Dunal, Solanum merrillianum Liou, Solanum microspermum Dunal, Solanum minutibaccatum Bitter, Solanum minutibaccatum subsp. curtipedunculatum Bitter, Solanum nigrum var. americanum (Mill.) O.E.Schulz, Solanum nigrum var. angulosum Sendtn., Solanum nigrum subsp. dillenii (Schult.) Schur, Solanum nigrum var. minus Hook.f., Solanum nigrum subsp. nodiflorum (Jacq.) Sendtn., Solanum nigrum var. oleraceum (Dunal) Hitchc., Solanum nigrum var. patulum L., Solanum nigrum var. pauciflorum Liou, Solanum nodiflorum Desv. ex Dunal, Solanum nodiflorum Jacq., Solanum nodiflorum var. acuminatum Chodat, Solanum nodiflorum subsp. nutans R.J.F.Hend., Solanum nodiflorum var. sapucayense Chodat, Solanum nodiflorum var. sativum A.Chev., Solanum oleraceum Dunal, Solanum pachystylum Polgar, Solanum papilionaceum Dum.Cours., Solanum patulum (L.) Roth, Solanum pauciflorum (Liou) H.Y.Zhang, Solanum photeinocarpum Nakamura & Odash., Solanum photeinocarpum var. violaceum (H.Y.Chen ex Wessely) C.Y.Wu & S.C.Huang, Solanum pterocaulum Dunal, Solanum ptychanthum Dunal, Solanum quadrangulare L.f., Solanum rumphii Dunal, Solanum sancti-thomae Bitter, Solanum sciaphilum Bitter, Solanum strictum Zuccagni, Solanum suffruticosum var. merrillianum (Liou) C.Y.Wu & S.C.Huang, Solanum tenellum Bitter, Solanum tenuiflorum Steud., Solanum umbelliferum Torr
Solanum americanum Mill. is the accepted scientific name for the Black Nightshade. It was named and decried by Philip Miller in the 8th edition of Gardeners Dictionary in 1768.
The genus, Solanum L., was described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 12-18-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 1,236 species in the Solanum genus. The genus is a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae with 100 other genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made by POWO.
The above distribution map for Solanum americanum is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database doesn’t show near the range for the United States and Canada. Plants of the World Online gets a lot of their maps for North America from Flora of North America but they haven’t included the plant family Solanaceae yet. Once they do, POWO will update their maps for the family. No map is perfect and BONAP (The Biota of North America Program) does not show near the range…
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER PLANT ID.
I spotted a few Solanum americanum, the Black Nightshade, on the farm while taking wildflower photos for a post on September 14 in 2018. Strange I had never seen these plants before even though I have been in the spot they were growing many times over the summer. I thought they were Black Nightshade even though I had not seen one in person before. I double-checked with a few websites and they were indeed Solanum americanum. I went back to take more photos after a couple of days and the plants were completely gone… I suppose the only explanation would be that the cows ate them. I find that quite weird since they had apparently been there for quite some time for the plants to have been as big as they were. Why would the cows just decide to eat them then? These plants are highly toxic, even to livestock… Unfortunately, I have not seen any more Black Nightshade on the farm or anywhere else I go wildflower hunting since 2019…
There are several common names, including Deadly Nightshade. Personally, this plant reminds me of the Grim Reaper…
I apologize for not writing descriptions at the moment. I am busy updating plant pages and writing new pages for wildflowers I identified over the summer (plus adding more photos to previously published pages). Writing descriptions in my own words can be a lengthy process, so I decided to just make new pages and come back later and write the descriptions. This is a winter project but sometimes I get behind and it takes longer. I need to continually update because plant names change, the number of species and genera fluctuates, and I want to be as accurate as I can. There are several very good websites below that can help with a positive ID. We are all a work in progress.
I have not found this species on the farm or anywhere else since 2018…
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MISSOURI PLANTS (S. nigrum)
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
PFAF(PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
EAT THE WEEDS
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂