Silver-Leaf Nightshade

(Solanum elaeagnifolium)
Silver-leaf Nightshade - flowering plant, photo: The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia

Status of silver-leaf nightshade in Tasmania

  • Silver-leaf nightshade is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of silver-leaf nightshade are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with silver-leaf nightshade are laid out in the Silver-leaf Nightshade Statutory Weed Management Plan.

What does silver-leaf nightshade look like?

  • Silver-leaf nightshade is an erect, summer-growing perennial herb growing to 80 cm. The stems are much branched and covered with fine hairs giving a silvery-white appearance, and armed with numerous slender, yellow to red prickles. The leaves are also silvery-white due to the dense covering of hairs, often with prickles on the underside of the veins, and with undulating and often scalloped margins. The flowers are purple to violet and occasionally white, and the fruit is a globular yellow and orange mottled berry becoming wrinkled when ripe. The root is deep and much branched and bears buds which produce new shoots each year.
  • Seeds germinate in autumn. Flowering commences in November and continues into summer. The above-ground growth dies back at the end of summer, and new shoots are produced from the roots the following spring.
  • Spread is by root fragments and seed. Root fragments can be spread by cultivation. Seeds can be spread when dead stems with mature fruit attached break off at ground level and are blown around by the wind. Seed can also be spread by water, on vehicles, machinery and mud, by birds and animals, and as a contaminant of agricultural produce.
Silver-leaf Nightshade - whole plant, photo: New South Wales Agriculture
Image top: Silver-leaf nightshade flowering plant, © Robyn Knox, Plant Protection Society of Western Australia.
Image above: Silver-leaf nightshade whole plant, © New South Wales Agriculture.

Impacts of silver-leaf nightshade

  • Silver-leaf nightshade is a serious pasture and crop weed. The weed is also toxic to stock, in particular cattle and horses.

Where does silver-leaf nightshade occur?

  • Silver-leaf nightshade is a native of North and South America. Silver-leaf nightshade has naturalised widely on mainland Australia.
  • Silver-leaf nightshade is occasionally recorded from Tasmania's south-east but is not considered naturalised in the State.

What do you need to do

  • If you locate silver-leaf nightshade anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be silver-leaf nightshade, immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed. 

See also
Silver-leaf Nightshade Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

Important Disclaimer
To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.