Black Nightshade

Poisonous Poisonous Autumn Autumn Summer Summer

A poisonous member of the Solonacea family that includes potatoes and tomatoes, but also deadly nightshade. Can be a prolific weed in the garden with a bushy habit growing to around 100cm. White flowers and black berries. There are at least two varieties, a species complex and cultivated versions, some of which are edible (sometimes after special preparation) – but not the wild UK variety. Ingestion causes effects delayed by 6 – 12 hours including vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, confusion, and abdominal pains.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Black Nightshade, Black nightshade, Blackberry nightshade
Scientific Name Solanum nigrum
Season Start Jul
Season End Sep
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Oval to heart shaped with slightly serrated edges, 50-70mm.


On separate stems opposite to leaves, White in clusters, with 5 petals and a yellow centre. 10-15mm. Very similar to tomato.


Clusters of tomato like berries, starting green ripening to black, 5-10mm. Structure like a tomato, many seeds in a soft pulp.


A plant of disturbed fertile ground – a weed of cultivated farmland and gardens.

Possible Confusion

Woody Nightshade, pictured, is similar but has purple flowers.


Fairly common.

Other Facts

Edible varieties are cultivated around the world, but it is never a high quality crop, eaten by the poor, the berries sometimes made into jam. 


1 comment for Black Nightshade

  1. Marie says:

    in Cameroon, West Africa we eat the leaves, thouroughly cooked as they can be bitter. they are an accompaniment to meat and fufu dishes.

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