American black nightshade (Solanum americanum) is an annual, or short-lived perennial, wildflower that is native to the United States.
It is in the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family along with common garden plants such as pepper, potato, and eggplant.
American black nightshade grows to a height of about three feet tall and just about as wide. The base may become woody at maturity, but may need to be staked so as not to collapse.
It occurs naturally in open woods, hammocks, and disturbed sites. It is a frequent wildflower where birds roost and leave their droppings.
In the home landscape it can be grown in full sun to part shade with average soil moisture. It can also be grown in containers very easily.
Its leaves are stalked, alternate, entire and occasionally toothed. The leaf shape is generally triangular-ovate. American black nightshade lacks spines or prickles.
Small white flowers appear throughout most of the year. The flowers are star shaped with bright yellow stamens that protrude past the petals.
Small, globe shaped, fruit develop soon after the flowers have been pollinated. They are green when unripe and turn to a purple-black at maturity. They are anywhere from 3 to 8 millimeters in size and glossy.
American black nightshade is a great wildlife plant because pollinators love the flowers, songbirds love the ripe fruit, and it is drop dead easy to grow. The ripe fruit can be eaten as well, but a positive ID is always needed before you eat wild edibles.
American black nightshade is native to the following states: AL, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NM, NV, OR, TX, and WA.
Propagation is achieved through seeds and transplanting seedlings found in bird roosting areas.
The two native night shades in central florida with small white flowers, and purple fruit, are American black nightshade (Solanum americanum) and black nightshade (Solanum chenopodioides).
The key differences in the two plants is Solanum americanum has erect, shiny, fruit and Solanum chenopodioides has drooping, dull, fruit.
You can buy Florida ecotype seeds of both these native wildflowers at the links below.