Eastern black nightshade

Solanum ptycanthum

Eastern black nightshade is a member of the Nightshade (Solanaceae) family. Although weeds belonging to this family have many similarities, individual species should be identified carefully since they react differently to many herbicides. The cotyledons of eastern black nightshade are small and green on both surfaces with short hairs on the margins. The true leaves are simple, alternate, petioled, ovate, or ovate-lanceolate. The seedling leaves have a red-purple coloration on the lower surface and margins that vary from entire to slightly serrated. Leaf pubescence (hair) depends on the environment and varies from nearly hairless to moderately hairy. The stem of the eastern black nightshade plant is erect, becomes widely branched, and reaches 1 to 2 feet in height. As the plant matures, white flowers form in umbel-like clusters of 4 to 5 star-shaped flowers each. The fruit is a 3/8-inch round green berry that turns purplish-black at maturity. Each nightshade plant is capable of producing up to 1,000 berries. Contained in each berry are 50 to 100 round, flattened, tan-colored seeds, each 1/16 inch in diameter (approximately the size of a pinhead).

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