American Black Nightshade

American Black Nightshade

American Black Nightshade is a member of the nightshade family. Nightshade is a family of plants that includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, tobacco and eggplant. The unique thing about Nightshades is that they contain small amounts of alkaloids, which are chemicals found in plants. While some alkaloids have positive effects on human health, others can affect them negatively. For example, the chemicals found in tobacco, a nightshade plant, can cause cancer.

Although the name sounds very exotic, American Nightshade is an invasive plant and is poisonous to small children and pets, who may be attracted to the nightshade berries.

Recently, the garden has started to be invaded with American Nightshade. This is one plant we should plan on getting rid of, especially the creeping type, which can quickly take over a garden.

Killing Nightshade Naturally

One way of getting rid of nightshade is to dig it out. This method works if you don’t have a whole lot of the plant around. Be sure to dig deep enough to get all the roots so you don’t have new growth. Pull the plant out by the root. If pieces of the root stay in the ground, you’ll have more nightshade growing soon, unless you routinely till the soil. Pull out all the plants you can find. This is best done before they go into the berry stage, as berries will eventually seed more plants. Birds carry them, too, distributing them far and wide.

Nightshades can also host Colorado potato beetles and late blight fungus.

Place all the weeds, berries, broken off roots into yard waste receptacles, do not put them in the compost as this will just bring them right back into the garden.

Remember that when killing nightshade, frequent and thorough cultivation is absolutely necessary so that these plants do not come back.

This plant is extremely tenacious and will come back after most treatments with anything that is a simple natural remedy. Remember that this is a poisonous plant and, as such, it is difficult to get rid of. It takes some thought and persistence when trying to get rid of nightshade.

As you can see, killing nightshade is not impossible, but it does take some planning and work. A little diligence definitely pays toward your success.

Happy Gardening!

Mary Church

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