Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is a spreading and rounded annual herb that can grow up to 75 cm in height. Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) is an annual/ short-lived perennial herb. It grows to a maximum height of 1.2 m and has white/pale blue flowers borne in bunches. Leaves alternate on the stem and have wavy edges. When the plant is mature the leaves look rather like tomato leaves. Black Nightshade also produces
round berries that are green when immature and black when mature. This plant has a taproot root system.
The stems are purplish-green in color, branching, round or angular,
smooth or partially hairy and becoming woody with age.
Leaves are greyish green in color, simple, alternate, ovate or ovate-lanceolate.
Leaf margins may be entire or with blunt teeth. Leaf hairiness is
variable, however, the leaves are most often found to be slightly hairy.
The plant has a slender taproot with a fibrous root system.
The flowers are white with a yellow center. Both the male and female organs
occur on the same plant.
Black nightshades produce small berries, about 5 to 12 mm in diameter,
green when immature and turn purplish-black at maturity. They are produced
occasionally in small bunches.
Scientific Name: Solanum nigrum
Benefits of Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum):
- The leaves of the black nightshade plant strongly promote perspiration, when ingested in small amounts. They work to purge the bowels the next day.
- The juice of the herb or an ointment prepared from it is externally applied to cure certain skin problems and tumors.
- A decoction of the stalk, leaves, and roots of black nightshade is beneficial for wounds and cancerous sores.
- Its berries are poisonous, but boiling them is believed to destroy the toxic substances and make them safe to be used for preserves, jams, and pies.
- An infusion of the plant is used as an enema in infants suffering from abdominal upsets.
- Freshly prepared extract of the plant is effective in treating cirrhosis of the liver and also works as an antidote to poisoning by opium.
How To Maintain Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum):
Black nightshade requires optimum temperatures of 20 to 34 ºC. The plant prefers full sunlight, but can grow in partially shaded areas. It is sensitive to frost. Soil requirements Nightshade will grow in most soil types. The plant prefers light, medium and heavy soils, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter. It can also do well in acid, neutral to asic soils. It prefers a well-drained, fertile soil. It grows well under moist conditions.
An integrated control program combining preventive, cultural, mechanical, and chemical methods is most effective. Black nightshade can be a serious agricultural weed when it competes with crops.
Major pests of black nightshade are among others, ants, black aphids, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetle, etc. These pests can be controlled by crop rotation or wood ash dusted on leaves. Onion and garlic are natural flea-beetle repellents.
The most frequent diseases attacking black nightshade are, among others, early blight, grey mould, bacterial wilt, leaf blight, powdery mildew, leaf curl virus, and yellow vein virus. The use of disease-free seeds and hot water seed treatment is recommended to control early blight. Optimum growing conditions and good soil conditions can also help in disease reduction.
The crop is ready for harvest 4 weeks from transplanting. Harvest the fruit when it turns into a black/purple color.
The leaves are normally harvested using a knife or hands. The fruit is picked by hand.