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American Black Nightshade Back to Plant Page
Solanum americanum

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About American Black Nightshade (Solanum americanum) American nightshade (Solanum americanum) is a herbaceous flowering plant native to the Americas, from the south and west of the United States south to Paraguay and Peru; it also occurs in Hawaii, where it is considered possibly indigenous or may be a Polynesian introduction. It is used as a medicinal in Cameroon, Kenya, Hawaii, Panama, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania, and as a wild or cultivated pot herb in Cameroon, Ghana, Guatemala, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Sierra Leone, the Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. It grows up to 1-1.5 meters (39-59 inches) tall and is an annual or short-lived perennial. The leaves are alternate on the branch, and vary greatly in size, up to 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) long and 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) broad, with a 4-centimeter (1.6 inches) petiole and a coarsely wavy or toothed margin. The flowers are about 1 centimeter diameter, white or occasionally light purple, with yellow stamens. The fruit is a shiny black berry 5-10 millimeters (0.20-0.39 inches) diameter, containing numerous small seeds.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
2.6 - 4.9 ft (0.8 - 1.5 m)

Flower Color
Yellow, White, Purple

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Open, often disturbed places


Elevation ?
-20' - 6532'

Annual Precip. ?
3.0" - 68.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 3.25"

Coldest Month ?
38.0° F - 60.5° F

Hottest Month ?
57.9° F - 88.8° F

Humidity ?
0.35 vpd - 40.58 vpd

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Common uses
Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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