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American black nightshade, American black or common or West Indian nightshade, glossy nightshade, little white nightshade, small-flower nightshade, white nightshade

Habit Herbs to subshrubs, annual to perennial, erect, unarmed, to 1.5 m, glabrate to moderately pubescent, hairs whitish, unbranched, to 1 mm, eglandular.


petiole 1–4 cm;

blade simple, ovate to ovate-elliptic, 2–10.5 × 1–4.5 cm, margins entire or shallowly sinuate-dentate, base decurrent.


extra-axillary or leaf-opposed, unbranched, usually umbel-like, 3–10-flowered, 0.5–3 cm.


erect or spreading, 0.3–1 cm in flower, to 1.5 cm in fruit.


radially symmetric;

calyx somewhat accrescent, unarmed, 1–3 mm, lobes deltate, strongly reflexed in fruit;

corolla white, sometimes with yellowish central star, stellate, 0.4–0.8 cm diam., without interpetalar tissue;

stamens equal;

anthers ellipsoidal, 0.7–1.5 mm, dehiscent by terminal pores that open into longitudinal slits;

ovary glabrous.


shiny purplish black, globose, 0.5–1 cm diam., glabrous, with (0–)2–4(–6) sclerotic granules, usually 2–4 larger and 2 smaller.


pale yellow to brown, 1–1.5 × 0.5–1.5 mm, minutely pitted.


= 24.

Solanum americanum

Phenology Flowering May–Nov (year-round in Fla.).
Habitat Weedy habitats, secondary forest, disturbed areas.
Elevation 0–1000(–2000) m. (0–3300(–6600) ft.)
from FNA
AL; AZ; CA; FL; GA; LA; MO; MS; OR; SC; TX; UT; WA; BC; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies [Introduced in Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia]
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Solanum americanum is a morphologically variable and globally distributed weedy species. It has often been confused with other species in the black nightshade group such as S. emulans, S. nigrescens, S. nigrum, and S. pseudogracile and has often been referred to as S. nodiflorum in floristic treatments. It is distinguished by its very short anthers and shiny black mature fruits with strongly reflexed calyx lobes and usually two to four (rarely none or as many as six) sclerotic granules per fruit. Leaf shape and pubescence can vary considerably throughout its range, and there are some suspected cases of introgression with other species such as S. nigrescens or S. pseudogracile. The name S. nigrum has been misapplied to S. americanum (for example, A. E. Radford et al. 1968).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 14.
Parent taxa Solanaceae > Solanum
Sibling taxa
S. aviculare, S. bahamense, S. campechiense, S. capsicoides, S. carolinense, S. chenopodioides, S. citrullifolium, S. cordicitum, S. davisense, S. deflexum, S. dimidiatum, S. diphyllum, S. donianum, S. douglasii, S. dulcamara, S. elaeagnifolium, S. emulans, S. erianthum, S. furcatum, S. hindsianum, S. interius, S. jamaicense, S. jamesii, S. laciniatum, S. lanceolatum, S. lumholtzianum, S. lycopersicum, S. marginatum, S. mauritianum, S. nigrescens, S. nigrum, S. nitidibaccatum, S. novomexicanum, S. perplexum, S. pseudocapsicum, S. pseudogracile, S. pumilum, S. rostratum, S. sarrachoides, S. seaforthianum, S. setigeroides, S. sisymbriifolium, S. stoloniferum, S. tampicense, S. tenuipes, S. torvum, S. triflorum, S. triquetrum, S. umbelliferum, S. viarum, S. wallacei
Synonyms S. nigrum var. americanum, S. nigrum var. nodiflorum, S. nodiflorum, S. ptychanthum
Name authority Miller: Gard. Dict. ed. 8 Solanum no. 5. (1768)
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