Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Solanum elaeagnifolium, Silverleaf Nightshade

Silverleaf Nightshade is a weedy and poisonous plant with beautiful and showy purple or violet flowers with yellow or orange anthers. Solanum elaeagnifoliumSilverleaf Nightshade has silvery foliage on the stem, leaves and flowers, flowers and stems also have small but very sharp spines. Solanum elaeagnifoliumSilverleaf Nightshade blooms from May to October in Arizona and California. Shortly thereafter fruits develop that soon become showy yellow berries. Solanum elaeagnifoliumSilverleaf Nightshade is a native perennial that grows to about 3 feet tall. Solanum elaeagnifoliumSilverleaf Nightshade is a weedy but attractive plant that grows at elevations between 1,000 and 5,500 feet. All parts of this plant are poisonous. Solanum elaeagnifolium

Scientific Name: Solanum elaeagnifolium
Common Name: Silverleaf Nightshade
Also Called: Bull Nettle, Silver-leaf Nightshade, Tomato Weed, Trompillo, White Horsenettle, White Horse-nettle, White Nightshade (Spanish: Buena Mujer, Tomatito de Buena Mujer, Trompillo, Pera)
Family: Solanaceae, Nightshade or Potato Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 3 feet tall.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; herbage (silvery) densely and minutely whitish-lepidote, spines relatively short but very sharp; clones from creeping rhizome rootstock.
Leaves: Greenish-blue, silvery; margins entire to coarsely sinuate-dentate; leaves up to 6 inches long, oblong; may become yellowish.
Flower Color: Purple, blue, violet; inflorescence raceme-like; corolla from ¾ to 1 inch wide, anthers yellow or orange, often persistent, corolla with 5 lobes joined at the base; calyx does not develop around the fruit (no papery covering); fruit small globose or globular yellow poisonous berries.
Flowering Season: May to October; May to September in California; April to October in Texas.
Elevation: 1,000 to 5,500 feet; below 4,000 feet in California.

Habitat Preferences: Fields, roadsides, dry disturbed places and weedy in irrigated lands (AZ, CA); elsewhere in prairie, plains, meadows, pastures and savannas.

Recorded Range: In the United States Solanum elaeagnifolium is found in western and central southern states and in ID, OR, WA. It is also native to Baja California and central and northern Mexico. In Arizona it is a weedy plant found throughout most of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Solanum elaeagnifolium.

U.S. Weed Information: In North America Solanum elaeagnifolium can be weedy or invasive according to the following authoritative sources: State noxious weed lists for 46 states; Weeds of the United States and Canada; Weeds of the West. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: In North America Solanum elaeagnifolium is listed as a Noxious Weed by the federal government and/or a State: Arkansas, purple nightshade Noxious weed; California, white horsenettle B list (noxious weeds); Hawaii, silverleaf nightshade Noxious weed; Idaho; silverleaf nightshade Noxious weed; Nevada, white horsenettle Noxious weed; Oregon, silverleaf nightshade "A" designated weed - silverleaf nightshade Quarantine; Washington, silverleaf nightshade Class A noxious weed silverleaf nightshade - Noxious weed seed and plant quarantine. Plants included here are invasive or noxious.

Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 104 species and 131 accepted taxa overall for Solanum. World wide, The Plant List includes 1,199 accepted species names and includes a further 454 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States, Arizona there are 18 species of Solanum, in California there are 30 species, Nevada has 8 species, New Mexico has 16 species, Texas has 27 species, Utah has 11 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Solanum elaeagnifolium is a showy attractive plant with its silvery foliage, purple or lavender flowers with yellow anthers and bright yellow berries. All parts of this species are poisonous.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: American Black Nightshade, Solanum americanum, Fendler's Horsenettle, Solanum fendleri, Melon Leaf Nightshade, Solanum heterodoxum, Hinds Nightshade, Solanum hindsianum, Buffalobur Nightshade, Solanum rostratum and Purple Nightshade, Solanum xanti.

Solanum elaeagnifolium has been used for food and other purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
Apache, White Mountain Drug, Unspecified, Plant used for medicinal purposes.
Isleta Drug, Laxative, Raw seed pods eaten or boiled into a syrup and taken as a laxative.
Keresan Other, Jewelry, Fruit made into a necklace worn by women.
Pima Food, Fruit, Berries powdered, placed in milk, a piece of rabbit or cow stomach added and liquid eaten as cheese.
Zuni Drug, Snake Bite Remedy, Fresh or dried root chewed by medicine man before sucking snakebite and poultice applied to wound.
Zuni Drug, Toothache Remedy, Chewed root placed in cavity of aching tooth.
Zuni Food, Beverage, Berries mixed with curdled goat milk and considered a delicious beverage.
See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 09/12/2016, updated format 10/06/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 09/10/2016)
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/10/2016).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 09/12/2016]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 09/12/2016),7682,7689
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information ).