silverleaf nightshade

Solanum elaeagnifolium


Family: Solanaceae

Other common names: purple nightshade, white horsenettle, tomato weed

Weed Class: A

Year Listed: 1988

Native to: Central and Southwest United States, Mexico and Southern South America

Toxic: livestock

Other Legal Listings: WA Quarantine list, WAC 16-750

additional photos



Why is it a noxious weed?

Silverleaf nightshade lowers crop yield through competition. The species is also toxic to livestock. It contains toxic alkaloids that combine with sugars to produce glycoalkaloids which irritate the gastrointestinal tract.

How would I identify it?

General Description: A member of the tomato family, silverleaf nightshade is a branched and deep rooted perennial herb that grows 1 to 4 feet in height with purplish-blue flowers.

Flower Description: Flowers are blue, violet or, rarely white. There are 5 fused petals, ¾ inch across and flowers have bright yellow stamens.

Leaf Description: Leaves are lance-shaped, 1 to 4 inches long by 1 inch wide and have wavy margins. Short silvery-white hairs give the plant a dusky or silvery-gray color.

Stem Description: Stems have slender yellow spines.

Fruit/Seed Description: Rounded berry that grows to around 0.4 inch in diameter, with sparse stellate (star-shaped) hairs.

May be confused with:

How does it reproduce?

Silverleaf nightshade reproduces by seed, rhizomes and root fragments.

Where does it grow?

Silverleaf nightshade is adapted to semi-arid regions. It will grow in pastures, cultivated fields and roadsides. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of silverleaf nightshade in Washington.

How do I control it?

Mechanical Control

Hand-pull or dig plants, being careful to get all of the rootstock and dispose of the plants properly in the trash. Plants can re-grow after being clipped or mowed.

Herbicide Control

Silverleaf nightshade is difficult to control with herbicide because of its root system. Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.


For more information

See our Written Findings for more information about silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium).

Additional Photos



Silverleaf nightshade infestation


Silverleaf nightshade flower


blooming plants




leaves and flower


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