Can you please confirm:

  • This is Black-night-shade berries?
  • This is an edible?
  • Perennial or annual plant for Zone 9b (N.California)
  • Best practice/time to propagate them (using the ripe berries)

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Update: I've tried eating a few and.. well, it's obvious that I'm still alive 😁 to post this update.

  • 2
    Please be careful with eating fruit of the nightshade family, unless they are true cultivated species such as tomato, eggplant, peppers, etc., they are mostly toxic.
    – benn
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 8:08
  • @b.nota is right about eating them. There are many cultivars and you can't always tell by looking. Unless you know for sure that it's a tomato or other edible vegetable, skip it. Both the fruits and leaves are toxic. This is true for cats and dogs, so be careful there too! Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 15:08

3 Answers 3


Black nightshade - yes, Solanum nigrum see the wiki page here. Short lived perennial. Is it edible ... the wiki page has something to say on this; answers yes and no would be correct, but probably you are playing with fire. If it is just for yourself in a scientific context then be aware that the toxin is the same as that in greened potatoes after exposure to light. The plant resembles bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) and can be confused with deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna). If there are kids involved then they should be very carefully instructed and encouraged to pass on the message. In general no, don't eat, to be safe, and while it is easy to propagate from seeds it is an unsightly plant and best discouraged.

  • The wiki page shows a red berry (when ripped) the one I'm having is black.. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 10:01
  • That's probably an oversight on the part of the page constructors. See this more complete reference. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 10:34
  • The red berries are a particular cultivar - the wild ones I see are black when ripe. Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 11:03

Solanum nigrum yes. Annual. "the toxin levels may also be affected by the plant's growing conditions" says Wikipedia. So the next season's plants may be more toxic. - dont eat.


Yes, it looks like black nightshade, but you should be careful when using inductive logic with plants. Just because it looks like something doesn't necessarily mean that's what it is.

From what I've read, black nightshade can be edible when ripe, but not all kinds of it are.

If you want a cultivated plant that looks very similar to your plant there (and is related to it), you should try planting wonderberries. Luther Burbank (a well-known plant breeder) spent maybe 25 years breeding them; so, you can be sure they're edible (when ripe). I grow them. They're very easy to grow. Just grow them like tomatoes. They tend to be earlier than tomatoes, though. I'm not sure how early Black Nightshade is, but I imagine you can grow them like tomatoes, too. It probably reseeds like a weed. You could probably just smoosh up a berry where you want it to grow the next season. (Or you could save the seeds and plant them like tomatoes.)

To save seeds, use the same method used with ground cherries, tomatillos, and wonderberries, since they're so tiny. Put several berries in a blender with water. Blend them on low for a bit. Let it settle a bit. The seeds should sink to the bottom. Pour out the stuff on the top. Keep working on that until you just have seeds. Then, bag them up in an empty herbal tea bag or some such and let them dry (having a fan going in the room where you dry them is advantageous). Drying on brown paper bags works well. Get some plastic bead bags (like miniature Ziplock bags) to keep them in after they're dry.

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