Solanum nigrum L. Black Berry Nightshade
Sp.Pl. 1:186 (1753)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Amanda Spooner, Monday 13 August 2007

Erect perennial, herb or shrub (short-lived), 0.3-1 m high. Fl. white, Jan to Dec.

Distribution

Beard’s Provinces: Eremaean Province, Northern Province, South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Carnarvon, Central Kimberley, Coolgardie, Dampierland, Esperance Plains, Gascoyne, Geraldton Sandplains, Great Sandy Desert, Hampton, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Murchison, Nullarbor, Ord Victoria Plain, Pilbara, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren, Yalgoo.

IBRA Subregions: Augustus, Avon Wheatbelt P1, Avon Wheatbelt P2, Cape Range, Central band, Nullarbor Plain, Dandaragan Plateau, Eastern Goldfield, Eastern Mallee, Eastern Murchison, Fitzgerald, Fortescue, Geraldton Hills, Hamersley, Hampton, Lesueur Sandplain, Mardabilla, McLarty, Mount Eliza, Northern band, Carlisle, Northern Jarrah Forest, Ord, Ord-Victoria Plains P1, Pentecost, Perth, Pindanland, Recherche, Roebourne, Southern Cross, Southern Jarrah Forest, Tallering, Warren, Western Mallee, Western Murchison, Wooramel.

IMCRA Regions: Abrolhos Islands, Batemans Shelf, Canning, Central West Coast, Leeuwin-Naturaliste, Shark Bay, WA South Coast.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Armadale, Ashburton, Augusta-Margaret River, Bayswater, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Canning, Capel, Carnarvon, Chapman Valley, Chittering, Cockburn, Coolgardie, Coorow, Cranbrook, Cuballing, Cue, Dandaragan, Dardanup, Denmark, Derby-West Kimberley, Dowerin, Dundas, East Pilbara, Esperance, Exmouth, Gingin, Goomalling, Gosnells, Greater Geraldton, Halls Creek, Harvey, Irwin, Jerramungup, Joondalup, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kojonup, Kondinin, Kulin, Kwinana, Lake Grace, Laverton, Leonora, Mandurah, Manjimup, Meekatharra, Menzies, Merredin, Mukinbudin, Murchison, Murray, Narrogin, Northam, Northampton, Perenjori, Perth, Pingelly, Plantagenet, Port Hedland, Rockingham, Sandstone, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Shark Bay, South Perth, Stirling, Swan, Tammin, Upper Gascoyne, Vincent, Wanneroo, Waroona, Wiluna, Yalgoo, Yilgarn.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Thursday 21 December 2017

Alternative Names. Nightshade, Potato Bush, Tomato Bush, Wild Currants, Petty Morel, Poisonberry, Garden Nightshade.

General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Annual. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Birds, water, soil, machinery. Toxicity. Variably toxic. Green fruit and leaves may at times contain toxic alkaloids. Seedbank persistence. 5+ years.

Notes. Common agricultural and bushland weed. May be biennial particularly in milder conditions, where it may live from 2-5 years. Competes vigorously for space and nutrients. Morphologically variable. Has a taproot and many lateral roots, with a high shoot to root ratio. Flowering occurs 5-9 weeks after germination and continues until the plant dies. Early germinating plants take several weeks more to flower compared to late germinating plants. Produces prolific seed. Seed can have high germination rates (>90%) and germination is usually staggered. Alternating temperatures are required to break dormancy and lower light intensities or darkness are generally more favourable for germination. There is vigorous recruitment from soil stored seed in burnt and unburnt areas after rain. Levels of primary seed dormancy among populations, enabling it to maximise its chance of survival by regulating germination timing to favourable conditions. It is therefore best to time weed control measures to larger seedling flushes. Host to nematodes, fungi and viruses. Produces alkaloids, glycosides and accumulates nitrates.

Additional information. Origin. Likely Europe. History of use/introduction. Medicines. Similar exotic species. Solanum americanum.

Suggested method of management and control. Prevent seed set for several years. Hand weed small infestations. In bushland situations, manually remove plants before flowering. For large infestations, 1 L/ha Starane® (20 ml/10 L) applied when actively growing in summer, will provide reasonably selective control. Do not use in or near wetlands. Control infestations within 5 km of the target area to reduce dispersal of seed by birds. 1 L/ha 2,4-D amine (500 g/L) or 20 ml/10 L can also be used for control of young plants in early summer. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Germination         O O O Y Y Y Y Y  
Active Growth           Y Y Y Y Y Y    
Flowering Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  
Fruiting O O O O O O O O O Y Y O  
Manual Removal O O O O O Y Y Y Y Y Y O  
Herbicide Treatment O           Y Y Y Y Y Y  

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Anon. (2002) Solanum nigrum (Black Nightshade). The Australian Naturopathic Network, Eastwood NSW Australia.
  • Bithel, S.L. (2004) An evaluation of Solanum nigrum and Solanum physalitolium biology and management strategies to reduce nightshade fruit contamination of process pea crops. Lincoln University, New Zealand. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Degree of Master of Applied Science at Lincoln University.
  • Botanic Gardens Trust Sydney (Undated) Solanum nigrum, Solanaceae, Black-berry Nightshade. Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, NSW. URL: http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/science/Evolutionary_Ecology_Research/Ecology_of_Cumberland_Plain_Woodland/woodland_plants/solanum_nigrum - Accessed May 2010.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Chase, C.A., Bewick, T.A. & Shilling, D.G. (1998) Characterization of Paraquat resistance in Solanum americanum mill. I. Paraquat uptake, translocation, and compartmentalization. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, 60 (1): 13-22.
  • Goodhue, R. (1998) Nightshade (Solanum spp) Biology Outline & Bibliography. URL: http://www.agron.iastate.edu/~weeds/WeedBiolLibrary/solanumbiblio.html - Accessed December 2007.
  • Harden, G.J. (ed.) (1990-93) Flora of New South Wales Vols. 1 to 4. New South Wales University Press, Kensington.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Moore, C.B. & Moore, J.H. (2002) Herbiguide, the pesticide expert on a disk. Herbiguide, PO Box 44 Albany, Western Australia, 6330.
  • Plants for a future (Undated) Plant Database. Plants For A Future, England and Wales. URL: http://www.pfaf.org/index.php - Accessed April 2010.
  • Roberts, H.A. & Lockett, P.M. (1978) Seed dormancy and field emergence in Solanum nigrum L. Weed Reseach, 18: 231-241.
  • Swarbrick, J.T. & Skarratt, D.B. (1994) The bushweed 2 database of environmental weeds in Australia. The University of Queensland, Gatton College.
  • Taab, A. & Andersson, L. (2009) Primary dormancy and seedling emergence of Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) and Hairy Nightshade (Solanum physalifolium). Weed Science, 57 (5): 526-532.
  • Taab, A. & Andersson, L. (2009) Seasonal changes in seed dormancy of Solanum nigrum and Solanum physalifolium. Weed Research, 49 (1): 90-97.
  • Taab, A. & Andersson, L. (2009) Seed dormancy dynamics and germination characteristics of Solanum nigrum. Weed Research, 49: 490-498.

Project information and acknowledgements