question about Deadly Nightshade : LUSENET : Country Style Homesteading : One Thread

I am hoping and praying that this plant is not what I've been seeing growing in places around here, so can someone help me with a description. Does nightshade have any kind of thorns on it? Does it spread by runners? This particular plant I've seen has flowers and leaves similar (purpilish) to what I read in my herb book about nightshade, but I'm not sure. Help please!!!

-- Annie (, April 07, 2002


from what I know,, it has a "funny" smell when bruised or pulled up,, shallow roots, no thorns, triangle shaped leaves, vine type,, with berries that start green then turn red. (I think thats what nightshade is)

-- Stan (, April 07, 2002.

There are several plants that go by the name "Nightshade". Stan, I think what you are describing is Bittersweet Nightshade also called Climbing Nightshade. Annie, first of all, Deadly Nightshade or Belladonna is NOT a native plant here and thorns are not mentioned in the descriptions I have read. Check out this site for more info. Bellado nna Nothing in my wildflower books mention thorns for plants in the nightshade family. Maybe a wildflower book would be of more help? I'll keep looking. I thought it was going to be Greenbrier but then you said the leaves were purplish.

-- Bren (, April 07, 2002.

Annie, go to this site for several very good pictures of Greenbrier. If that's not what it is, let me know and I'll keep looking. Oh, you can always take a sprig of it into your county ag ext office.

-- Bren (, April 07, 2002.

Uh...Here's the link... :o)


-- Bren (, April 07, 2002.

Hey you all, thanks a bunch!!! I had read that you shouldn't even handle nightshade, and of course, I was handling this unknown plant! Your posts makes me feel much better. I'm glad to know I don't have this dangerous plant on my land. Bren, thanks for the link, gonna check it out now and try to identify this plant.

-- Annie (, April 08, 2002.

Hey, Phil! If your CD has it, can Belladonna be the Daily Herb Listing soon? Thanks!

-- Bren (, April 08, 2002.

Occurances of Deadly Nightshade have been recorded in the Southeastern U.S. , I believe.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, April 08, 2002.

Jay is correct. I myself had to deal with it on an old homestead in south Georgia. My county agent almost had a stroke when I put the sample on his desk. I knew what it was and had gloves on. He had assured me that I was mistaken over the phone...... Made me wonder what the old ladies who had previously lived there were up to.....

-- Tana Mc (, April 08, 2002.

Tana, what was it about the plant that made you know it was Nightshade? Any unusual markings? Thanks!

-- Annie (, April 09, 2002.

Bren ... I checked my CD and it doesn't have anything about Belladona. I'll keep searching and see what I come up with.

-- Phil in KS (, April 09, 2002.

When I first noticed it, we had run over it with the truck..... I noticed the strange odor.... very pungentand musky. I went back to the house to look it up. Had dark green foliage with a slight purple tinge to it. White flowers and if I remember correctly dark black/ purple berries. Kinda had that voluptuous, sprawling look like tomato and potato plants do.... Been years ago, so don't rely on my feeble memory. What I really remember is the county agents reaction....LOL!!!

-- Tana Mc (, April 09, 2002.

HEY!! I found a great picture of it at

The top portion of the text is in French but it has the English translation at the bottom.

-- Tana Mc (, April 09, 2002.

Tana, I keep getting "File Not Found" when I cut and paste the web address you've given. Would you double check it for me? Thanks!

-- Bren (, April 09, 2002.

Bren ... the link will work now ... I fixed it! Or you can click


Hope this helps!

-- Phil in KS (, April 09, 2002.

Thanks, Phil!! I called myself being careful but I am just not a detail person!!

-- Tana Mc (, April 09, 2002.

Ok, On the bottom picture, the seeds are visible on the flower. I thought they had a bell shaped flower that was light purple! Geeze, I wouldn't know the darn plant if it introduced itself! :) I better get myself educated. One thing I did find interesting, was that it said it grew on hillsides, we live on one, and a hill that had been cleared, yep right by the house. Thanks for the pictures and link!

-- Annie (, April 09, 2002.

Okay, this is a perfect example of why it is important to note the Latin botanical names of plants and why it is wise to always use more than one source. The plant pictured in the above link is Datura metel or Thornapple or Jimsonweed. Deadly Nightshade (Belladonna) is Atropa belladonna. Both are in the Nightshade family Solanaceae. Jimsonweed is native to the tropical Americas and I believe I've seen the seed sold in flower catalogs. It is also highly poisonous having similar tropane alkaloids to Deadly Nightshade. Annie, your description of Deadly Nightshade is correct. See this site for info on both Nightshades. This site has some great photos of Deadly Nightshade. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a large picture.

-- Bren (, April 09, 2002.

Thank you Bren, the picture helps alot. I read about Deadly Nightshade in my herb book, but the picture in the book was a drawing in black and white and didn't help much. I've seen the plant I questioned about in various places on our property, and am going to watch some of it until it blooms and see if it has berries. I'm printing the picture so I'll have a good reference. Thanks a bunch!!!

-- Annie (, April 10, 2002.

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