Information on Black Nightshade

Common Name: Black Nightshade
Scientific Name: Solanum nigrum
Irish Name: Fuath dubh
Family Group: Solanaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Black Nightshade is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This is a bushy, annual plant which can be downy or hairless with stems often blackish in colour. It grows on disturbed soil, including some gardens, and also on shingle, scrub and hedges. From May to September, little white flowers (7-10 mm) are borne in loose clusters on angled stems. These have backward-turned petals and a cone made up of bright yellow stamens. The alternate leaves are oval, sometimes toothed and lobed. The fruits are black berries which are poisonous. This plant has been introduced into Ireland and is a member of the Solanaceae family.

I first found and photographed this wildflower growing on some gravel and sand heaps near Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford in 2010.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Nightshade, Black
Nightshade, Black

From Culpeper’s Complete Herbal (1653) : ‘Have a care you mistake not the deadly Nightshade for this; if you know it not, you may let them both alone, and take no harm, having other medicines sufficient in the book’. Sixteenth-century herbalist, John Gerard, when discussing another member of this family, Bittersweet, wrote: I have found another sort which bringeth forth most pleasant white flours, with yellow pointals in the middle: in other respects agreeing with the former’.