eastern black nightshade
Scientific NameSolanum ptycanthum
Other Common Names:
west Indian nightshade
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
Solidago nigrum (auct. non L.)
Eastern black nightshade is a summer annual that grows to be about one foot high. It germinates from seeds and can grow late into summer and into early fall. It is hardy and resists light frosts.
The young leaves of eastern black nightshade have undersides that are a maroonish-purple color. The shape is ovate or ovate-lancelote. They may be bluntly toothed and are often slightly hairy. Mature leaves are 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long and 1 to 2 inches (2 to 5 cm) wide.
Underside of leaves are purple to almost black and young leaves are often maroon to purple colored. Fruit is a deep purple almost black color upon maturity.
Flower Seed Head
The flower of eastern black nightshade is about 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter. They are in clusters of 5 to 7, and are white or tinged purple.
The fruit of eastern black nightshade is a berry. It is approximately 5 to 12 millimeters in diameter. The berry is green when immature and turns to a deep purple when mature. The berries contain scleroic seeds, usually between 4 and a dozen.
Eastern black nightshade is found throughout North America, though it is most common to the Eastern states, and is not usually west of the Rocky Mountains. This species usually found growing in pastures, along fence rows, roadsides, open woodlands, and fields.
upright and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval,
square or multi-edged