Ontario Weeds: Hairy nightshade

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. Related Links

Name: Hairy nightshade, Solanum sarachoides Sendt.

Other Names: morelle poilue, morelle sarachoide, Cupped nightshade, Potatoweed

Family: Nightshade or Potato Family (Solanaceae

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Hairy nightshade.

Hairy nightshade. Leaves.

Hairy nightshade. A. Plant.
Hairy nightshade.
A. Plant.


B. Cluster of flowers.

B. Cluster of flowers.

Stems & Roots: Stem branching and softly hairy, up to 1m (40in.) long, spreading or erect; leaves alternate, ovate, to nearly triangular (resembling some leaves of Lamb's-quarters), dull green to gray-green, thick and opaque to transmitted light, 1.5-10cm (3/5-4in.) long, usually finely hairy, especially along margins and main veins; some of these hairs with tiny glandular tips (seen under magnification), giving the plant a slightly sticky or clammy texture; margins of leaves usually smooth but occasionally with coarse, irregular, rounded teeth.

Flowers & Fruit: Inflorescence of 3-9 flowers in a short raceme sticking out from the side of the stem rather than from the axil of a leaf; corolla white or tinged with bluish-purple; calyx at first small but enlarging with age to 4-9mm (1/6-2/5in.) across at maturity and acting as a cup around the lower half (stem end) of the fruit; fruit a greenish berry turning yellowish-brown to brown at maturity. Flowers from July to October.

Habitat: A native of South America, Hairy nightshade is found in southern Ontario in cultivated fields on both mineral and muck soils.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by its relatively small, thick, non-translucent leaves, its stem and leaves being finely hairy and slightly sticky or clammy, its inflorescence a short raceme, its calyx enlarging with age and partially enclosing the base of the fruit, and its fruit turning yellowish-brown to brown at maturity.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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