Nightshade plant (includes woody, black or common types)

Woody Nightshade

Woody nightshade plant


Black or Common Nightshade


Black nightshade plant


Woody nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) and black or common nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

  • Woody nightshade is a perennial vine often seen sprawling over other plants. Flowers have 5 purple petals with a yellow stamen. Berries are red and hang in stemmed clusters.
  • Black or common nightshade is a perennial shrub, which grows erect. It has 5 white petals with a yellow stamen and black berries that grow in stemmed clusters.
  • DO NOT confuse these plants with deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), a toxic plant that causes different symptoms.

Is it toxic?  
Unripe berries, leaves and stems contain a compound called solanine. Ingestion of small amounts may cause a burning sensation in the throat and a stomach upset. Similar symptoms may occur after eating green potatoes. Ingestion of larger amounts may cause more serious symptoms.

Health Effects:
Ingestion: Ingestion of only a few unripe berries may result in burning sensation of the throat, a bitter taste, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Ingestion of large amounts may cause headache, drowsiness, confusion, dilated pupils and increased heart rate. Ripe berries do not cause these effects.

What to do?

Ingestion: Rinse out the mouth and have a glass of water. Contact the Poison Control Centre.

Depending on the amount ingested, referral to a hospital may be recommended.

How can I prevent exposure?
Do not eat wild berries. Know the name of the plants and berries in your backyard.


Need more information: Contact the Poison Control Centre.

© 2010 BC Drug and Poison Information Centre