European Black Nightshade

Solanum nigrum

European black nightshade plant
European black nightshade plant. Photo courtesy of Howard F. Schwartz. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
European black nightshade is an annual broadleaf weed. Like other nightshade plants, it contains the toxin Solanine which is posionous for both humans and animals.
European black nightshade are known to germinate between early spring and midsummer, while temperatures range from 60 to 90 degrees F. They generally prefer a rich, moist, and loamy soil.
European black nightshade seedlings
European black nightshade seedlings. Photo courtesy of Phil Westra. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Leaves are ovate to heart-shaped with slightly waved and toothed edges. The plant may or may not have hairs on covering its leaves and stems. It grows up to 3 feet tall with purplish stems that become woody with age.
European black nightshade plant with blooming flowers
European black nightshade plant with blooming flowers. Photo courtesy of H. Zell. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Flowers are small and white with a translucent basal star. The berries produced are in small clusters and ripen to a dull black. They can be easily mistaken for deadly nightshade, but deadly nightshade has only single black berries instead of clusters.
European black nightshade berry cluster
European black nightshade berry cluster. Photo courtesy of Harald Bubich. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
European black nightshade are known to inhabit rich soils and become very weedy in disturbed areas or croplands. Once entrenched, it competes heavily with crops in the same area.
Black nightshade is sensitive to tillage, as seeds do not usually germinate if buried more than an inch in the soil. It also does not survive well areas of low moisture content.
This species of nightshade has been known to be resistant to many traditional herbicides. Preemergence herbicides for corn such as atrazine and acetochlor or a mixture of both have been effective in establishing control. There are also various contact herbicides that controls this weed in corn crops. Preemergence ingredients for soybean herbicides include flumioxazin, s-metolachlor, and imazaquin have been known to control this black nightshade. There are also various contact herbicides that are effective for soybeans. Please contact your local weed specialist to learn what is most effective in your area and how to use it best. Always read and follow all label instructions.