Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Common Nightshade
Solanum ptychanthum
F. Solonaceae
General Description:

Common nightshade grows approximately 30-75 cm in height. The crepe-like, white flowers grow in sparse, drooping umbels and have a radially symmetrical, star-shaped bloom with a yellow, cone-shaped center. The leaves are glossy, deep green, broadly lanceolate, and have smooth wavy teeth. The stem is smooth and often has a brownish tint.

Solanum ptychanthum
Flowers:

The flowers of the common nightshade are very small, measuring 8 mm. in width and are sparsely arranged in drooping umbels along the length of the stem. The five, crepe-like petals of this radially symmetrical bloom are white and are arranged in a star shape. These petals are often reflexed against the length of the flower stalk, exposing a yellow-tipped, cone-shaped grouping of anthers. Each flower has five stamens.

Fruit:

Common nightshade produces green berries that turn black as it ripens.

Leaves:

The leaves of the common nightshade approximate 5-10 cm in length but vary in size according to position. They are deep green and broadly lanceolate. They have wavy teeth that run from the start of the petiole to midway up the length of the leaf.

Habitat:

Common nightshade grows within open woods, disturbed ground, and in cultivated plots.

Fun Facts:

The unripe berries and leaves of this common nightshade contain the toxin solanine. When eaten in large quantities they can prove fatal. The content levels of this toxin reduce as the berries ripen.

Solanum ptychanthum
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