Common Names: European black nightshade, black nightshade, duscle, garden nightshade, garden huckleberry, hound's berry, petty morel, wonder berry, small-fruited black nightshade, popolo
A nightshade species with a long history of medicinal and culinary uses. It has a height of 12 to 48 inches, leaves 1.5 to 3 inches long and 1 to 2.5 inches wide; ovate to heart-shaped, with wavy or large-toothed edges; both surfaces hairy or hairless; petiole 0.5 to 1 inch long with a winged upper portion. The flowers have petals greenish to whitish, recurved when aged and surround prominent bright yellow anthers. The berry is mostly 0.25 to 0.75 inches diam., dull black or purple-black when ripe.
Found in many wooded areas, as well as disturbed habitats.
Edible Notes: In various parts of the world, the berries are occasionally grown and eaten, but not cultivated for commercial use. In India the berries are referred to as 'fragrant tomato'. Leaves can be cooked in multiple changes of salted water an eaten as a vegetable. Not recommended.
Warnings: Solanine levels in S. nigrum can be toxic. Children have died from poisoning after eating unripe berries. However, the plant is rarely fatal, with ripe berries causing symptoms of mild abdominal pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sometimes Solanum nigrum is confused for deadly nightshade, a different Solanaceae species altogether. While some Solanum species such as the tomato, or pepper are edible and grown commercially, others are deadly toxic. In general, it may be advisable to simply avoid eating any Solanum species in the wild.