Nightshade

Nightshades are a fast growing small trees, up to 5 metres tall. They can be found in rough pasture, roadsides and waste places.

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Woolly nightshade (also known as flannelweed, tobacco weed and kerosene weed) and other nightshade weeds such as black nightshade are fast growing and weeds in unkempt places. The woolly nightshade is often mistaken for deadly nightshade which is poisonous but very rare in New Zealand. Nightshade trees and shrubs produce attractive berries of various colour depending on ripeness and species.

Woolly nightshade is one of the Dirty Dozen in New Zealand's War on Weeds.

Black nightshade and its less common bit more poisonous cousin Deadly nightshade are tall, upright plants, much branched. The foliage, and especially the stems, can get quite a purplish tinge.


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Did You Know Did You Know

  • The nightshade family include woolly nightshade, black nightshade, velvety nightshade, hairy nightshade and bittersweet also known as bitter nightshade.
  • Black nightshade is often incorrectly referred to as deadly nightshade, but deadly nightshade is extremely rare in New Zealand and is very poisonous.
  • Woolly nightshade is also known as tobacco weed, flannel weed or kerosene plant. Due to its invasive nature landowners in many regions are required to control it. Nightshade will invade agricultural land, native forest margins and urban areas; in certain situations, crowding out and suppressing all other plants. Juvenile plants can grow quickly. If uncontrolled plants reach several metres in height within 2 to 3 years.
  • Birds have spread seed into almost every vacant area of urban Auckland, as well as hedge rows, agricultural land, gullies and bush margins.
  • Latin names: Poroporo - Solanum aviculare, Bittersweet - Solanum ducamara, Apple of Sodom -Solanum linnaeanum, Woolly nightshade - Solanum mauritianum, Deadly nightshade - Atropa bella-donna, Black nightshade - Solanum nigrum, Velvety nightshade - Solanum chenopodiodes, Small-flowered nightshade - Solanum nodiflorum, Jerulsalem cherry - Solanum pseudocapsicum.

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