Solanum americanum Mill.

Glossy Nightshade

Gard. Dict., edn 8, 5 (1768) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect or spreading herb or short-lived perennial shrub to 130 cm high, green or with purplish stems, glabrous or sparsely pubescent with simple hairs; stems often angled or narrowly winged; prickles absent. Leaves ovate or ovate-lanceolate, mostly 2–12 cm long, 1–7 cm wide, apex acute or acuminate, base cuneate, margins entire or shallowly lobed, concolorous or somewhat discolorous, both surfaces sparsely pubescent to glabrescent; petiole 1–4(–9) cm long. Inflorescences simple, umbellate, 4–12-flowered; peduncle to 2.5 cm long, lengthening in fruit. Flowers on pedicels 5–8 mm long; calyx 1–2 mm long, lobes rounded, 0.4–1.2 mm long; corolla stellate, 5–9 mm diam., white or pale mauve with a greenish-yellow centre, lobes ovate to oblong; anthers 1.2–1.6 mm long. Berry globose, 5–9 mm diam., glossy purple-black; seeds 1–1.6 mm long, fawn or purplish; stone-cell granules present, c. 0.5 mm diam., or absent. Flowers mostly spring and summer.

*CVU, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *HSF, *MuF, *OtP, *Strz, *VAlp, *VVP, *WPro. *CVU, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *HSF, *MuF, *OtP, *Strz, *VAlp, *VVP, *WPro. CVU, EGL, EGU, GipP, Gold, HSF, OtP, Strz, VAlp, VVP, WPro, *Glep, *MuF. Also naturalised WA, NT.  Apparently native to Qld, NSW. An occasional weed of disturbed habitats.

The taxonomy of Solanum americanum and S. nodiflorum has been the subject of debate for some time, as has the identity of the Australian plants. Both the names Solanum americanum and S. nodiflorum have been applied to Australian plants in recent literature. The concept presented here differs from CHAH (2009), which recognised S. nodiflorum as the taxon occurring in Australia and treated S. americanum as a misapplication. The concept presented here follows Särkinen et al. (2018). The taxonomic status and relationship of S. americanum to S. nodiflorum was studied by Manoko et al. (2007) who used AFLP data to study the relationship between the two taxa, but used different taxon concepts than Särkinen et al. (2018), in part because their examination of type specimens was limited. Based on detailed study of the voucher specimens used, Särkinen et al. (2018) note that it is clear that the taxon referred to as S. nodiflorum in Manoko et al. (2007) refers to what Särkinen et al. (2018) considered  as S. americanum, while material referred to as S. americanum represents S. nigrescens M.Martens & Galeotti, a species endemic to the New World.

Created by: Val Stajsic, 2020-07-06

Manoko, M.L.K.; van der Berg, R.G.; Feron, R.M.C.; van der Weerden, G.M.; Mariani, C. (2007). AFLP markers support separation of Solanum nodiflorum from Solanum americanum sensu stricto (Solanaceae), Plant Systematics and Evolution 267: 1-11.

Särkinen, T., Poczai, P., Barboza, G.E., van der Weerden, G.M., Baden, M. & Knapp, S. (2018). A revision of the Old World Black Nightshades (Morelloid clade of Solanum L., Solanaceae), PhytoKeys 106: 1-223.

Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Solanales
family Solanaceae
genus Solanum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Solanum americanum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Solanum americanum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present introduced
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Murray Fans present introduced
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Wilsons Promontory present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Victorian Alps present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales