Index- plants in this Family
Solanaceae / Nightshade
American Black Nightshade (Solanum americanum)
American Black Nightshade is also known as Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum L. var. americanum) with which it is confused and as Solanum nigrum L. var. virginicum. The actual taxa of this species is in question.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a annual which can reach 100cm in height (39inches). May sometimes be a perennial. The stem may be smooth or most of the stem may have have small hairs (trichomes) which may only be visable under magnification.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 10cm in length (4inches). Leaves can be as wide as 5 cm (2inches). Each leaf ovate or somewhat triangular is entire or irregularly toothed with wavy margins. There are small hairs on the leaves especially on the margins.
Flowers: The flowers have 5 Regular Parts and are up to 0.8cm wide (0.3 inches). They are white. Blooms first appear in early summer and continue into mid fall. Usually in a drooping umbel with about five flowers. Petals spreading to reflexed. The anthers 2mm (.08") long.
Fruit: A shinny black berry less than 1cm (0.4") in diameter.
Habitat: Fields, borders and waste

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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Various authors give various names and range information for this species and my identification may prove to be incorrect.

Lore: Like other Nightshades all parts of this species should be considered highly posionious. It is thought that the berries loose there toxic properties when fully ripe and that wildlife eat them and reportedly some people eat them also both cooked and raw.

Medical Uses: See; Carolina Horsenettle, Solanum carolinense.

Similar Species: Black Nightshade Solanum nigrum is a European species introduced in the U. S. It is very like this species but its flowers tend to be in racemes as opposed to umbels and the fruit is dull black.

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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