Solanum nigrum, Black Nightshade seeds
Solanum nigrum seeds
Solanum nigrum belongs to the family of the Solanaceae, the nightshades. It is native to Southamerica but today it grows all over the world. S. nigrum is better known as the black nightshadow. It is very poisonous in all parts because it includes the glycoside solanin. Contamination by accident is very common with this plant.
S. nigrum is an annual, herbaceous plant; it reaches a height from 20 to 70 cm. The shoot has a dark violet color. The leaves are dark green and are, as all other parts of the plant hairy. They alternate at the shoot and can get 7 cm long and 4, 5 cm wide. The leaves are ovate and the leaf edge is dentate.
The flowers are white and just 6 to 14 mm wide. They are grouped in umbels with 3 to 10 flowers per umbel. They resemble the potato flower. S. nigrum does not have tubers like the potato but short, conical roots. The fruits (berries) are 5 to 10 mm in diameter and deep black. The green unripe fruits are very poisonous. There are sometimes accidents with those unripe fruits. Especially children are attracted and eat them. The berries include the seeds which are flat and 1, 7 to 2, 4 mm long. One berry can include 26 to 60 seeds.
In history S. nigrum is often part of drinks that witches mix together. One says that S. nigrum has a pact with the darkness and though the witches. S. nigrum was often worn as a chain around the neck to be protected against blasphemer.
In folk medicine it is used against gastric spasm.
S. nigrum is relative undemanding. It should be grown on clay or sand. The seeds have to be planted 0, 5 to 1 cm into the substrate. In nature S. nigrum germinates between May and June, because he needs it warm. In the house the germination occurs after 3 to 6 weeks. The substrate should be kept moist.