Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Good Year for Deadly Nightshade

It's been a great year for Black Nightshade (Solanum ptyscanthrum)  here at Tropical Texana. So why, do you ask, would I keep a plant like deadly nightshade around?
To begin, it has very pretty berries and it grows naturally since it is a Texas native. Secondly, I have watched a mockingbird eat all the berries off a plant and not fall over dead. So somebody likes it for food.

HOWEVER, if you have it in a field with cows (that hopefully does not describe your garden! :-) or you have small children, do not let them eat it. The unripened, green berries are especially toxic and can cause a fever, stomach cramps and vomiting. It's not the same plant as the more famous version shown below. That species grows in Europe.

1 comment:

  1. It is really a surprise to find deadly nightshade growing in Texas. I remember it well, growing up in England. As children we were are deathly afraid of it. Berries just looked like bilberries. Reminds me of the pokeweed which is also poisonous and which the mockingbird also eats. Of course he also eats chile pequin too, say no more!


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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