Nightshade, one of a large group of herbs and shrubs found in temperate and tropical regions. They include the potato, tomato, eggplant, and tobacco. Some nightshade plants are used for medicinal or ornamental purposes; a number of them are poisonous.
The deadly nightshade, or belladonna, is a poisonous plant. It is a bushy perennial that grows to a height of three feet (90 cm). It has oval, pointed leaves; bell-shaped purplish-brown flowers; and black, glossy berries. It is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, but is cultivated in the United States for its leaves, which yield the drugs atropine and scopolamine.Deadly nightshade, or belladonna, is poisonous and has pointed leaves.
The black nightshade, or common nightshade, is native to Africa and Asia, but has been introduced into many other parts of the world, including the United States, where it grows as a weed. It is an annual plant. It grows to a height of two feet (60 cm) and has lance-shaped leaves. The flowers are small and white; each has five petals. The dull black berries of some varieties are edible and are used in pies and preserves.
Nightshade plants belong to the family Solanaceae. The deadly nightshade is Atropa belladonna; the black, Solanum nigrum.