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Solanum ptycanthum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. ptychanthum
Binomial name
Solanum ptychanthum
Dun.

Solanum ptychanthum, eastern black nightshade or West Indian nightshade, is an annual or occasionally a perennial in the Solanaceae or Nightshade Family. The is 15-60 cm tall, and is much branched.

The leaves of Eastern black nightshade are triangular to elliptic. The stems are circular, and sometimes slightly hairy. The flowers are small, white, and star-shaped. They are located in small umbels of 5-7. The flowers ripen into glossy, black berries, each 10 mm in diameter and containing between 50 and 100 seeds. The fruits are not poisonous{3}, which allows birds to eat and disperse the seeds.The berries are edible and are used for pies, jams, and eaten raw {4}.

Habitat

Eastern black nightshade grows in landscapes, and most crops. It is most likely to be found growing near crops of related species such as tomatoes and potatoes. It can grow on sandy and poor soil, but prefers fertile and cultivated soil types. Eastern black nightshade is found principally in the Eastern United States.

As a Weed

Eastern black nightshade is not a strong competitor with most crops. It is, however, shade tolerant and so an infestation can survive and continue to grow even in the shade of crop plants. There are no easy chemical methods for controlling Eastern black nightshade, but night tillage reduces emergence by 50% to 75%. Planting soybeans in 7.5-inch rows also reduces growth significantly, and is the recommended method of control.

References

  • Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal and Joseph M. Ditomaso, Weeds of The Northeast, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), Pp. 318-319.
  • A. Davis, K. Renner, C. Sprague, L. Dyer, D. Mutch (2005). Integrated Weed Management. MSU.

3 Voss, Kenneth A, William J. Chamberlain, and Lucas H. Brennecke. "Subchronic toxicity study of eastern black nightshade (Solanum ptychanthum)berries in Sprague-Dawley rats." Journal of Food Safety Vol 13 No. 2, pp. 91-97. 4 Edmonds, Jennifer M. and James Chweya. Black Nightshades. Solanum nigrum L. and related species. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized crops 15. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant research, Rome Italy.

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