Silverleaf Nightshade – Solanum elaeagnifolium
Silverleaf nightshade is an invasive plant affecting crops, pastures and disturbed areas. It reduces crop yields and contaminates harvested products, affecting their quality and marketability. It particularly affects vegetables and cereals such as alfalfa, corn, sorghum and wheat.
Where it's found
Silverleaf nightshade has not been found in Canada. It is native to north-eastern Mexico and the south-western United States, and has been introduced elsewhere in the Americas. It is also present in Australia, India, South Africa and around the Mediterranean basin. It adapts to a wide range of habitats, but appears mostly in warm, dry areas, on agricultural land and disturbed sites.
What it looks like
Silverleaf nightshade is a deep-rooted, shrub-like, perennial, herbaceous plant about 30–60 cm tall. Plants have multiple, hairy, lance-shaped leaves, giving the plant a silvery-white appearance. Flowers are star-shaped and either blue, purple or white, with five fused petals and five prominent yellow anthers. The berries, which are yellow and brown when mature, are round and smooth, and contain 60–120 flat, light seeds.
How it spreads
Silverleaf nightshade has been spread around the world as a contaminant in animal feed and crop seed. It can also be moved with contaminated soil, ornamental plants, livestock and manure, vehicles and farm machinery. It reproduces mainly by seeds. Its seeds are spread naturally by birds, animals, wind and water.
Silverleaf nightshade is regulated as a pest in Canada under the Plant Protection Act. It is also listed as a prohibited noxious weed on the Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act. Importation and domestic movement of regulated plants and their propagative parts is prohibited.
What you can do about it
- Maintain healthy and diverse pastures.
- Use clean, high-quality seed that is certified if possible.
- Ensure machinery, vehicles and tools are free of soil and plant parts before moving them from one area to another.
- Contact your local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) office if you suspect you have found this invasive plant. The CFIA will follow up and determine if further action is needed.
To find out more, visit www.inspection.gc.ca/invasive.
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