White-edged nightshade

Common name:  White-edged nightshade
Scientific name:  Solanum marginatum
Management programme:  Progressive containment

Why is it a pest?

The shrub does well in dry areas and once it establishes it forms thick brushes that stock cannot eat or pass through. It also prevents the establishment of native undergrowth on edges of native bush. White-edged nightshade negatively affects economic well-being and biodiversity. We only have one known site near Hampden but is also known to have existed on Quarantine and Goat Islands in the Otago harbour.

What does it look like?

White-edged nightshade is a quick growing shrub that can grow up to 5m tall. The large woody stems and green oak-shaped leaves are covered in nasty sharp spines. Its leaves have white veins on the upper surface and dense chalky-white hairs on the underside. In summer white or pale lavender flowers bloom in clusters at the end of branches. Green-yellow tomato-shaped berries grow on the ends of prickly stalks.

What are the rules?

Everyone in Otago must eliminate white-edged nightshade on the land they occupy.

Over the life of the pest plan (10 years) the goal is to progressively contain and reduce the distribution or extent of white-edged nightshade at known sites in Otago region to minimise or prevent negative effects on economic wellbeing and the environment.

Other members of the nightshade family

One of the most commonly known members of the nightshade family is deadly nightshade (Atropa bella-donna). However, this plant is very rare in New Zealand and if often confused with black nightshade, you can easily tell the two apart from the flowers, deadly nightshade has large bell-shaped brownish purple flowers whereas black nightshade has white star-shaped flowers.

Black nightshade is not highly toxic, if you were to accidentally consume a few berries or leaves it will rarely lead to symptoms. However, you should still not eat the berries. More information can be found about black nightshade and deadly nightshade in this article by New Zealand’s National Poisons Information Centre.

Management programme

Page last updated 26 June 2024.