Botanical Name: Solanum nigrum
Common Names:Blackberry Nightshade, Garden Nightshade, Nastergal, Tomato Bush, Wild Currants
Blackberry Nightshade is an erect short lived perennial taprooted shrub. It is dark green and bushy in its appearence with many branches and can grow to over 1m in height.The plant produces many small white flowers and round green to black berries (green berries are NOT edible).
The stem can be slightly hairy or on occasions hairless. . The stem can be quite woody depending on the size and has many branches. The stem and branches can also range in colour from green to almost purple in some areas.
The leaves are oval with a pointed tip and alternate along the branches, the leaves often have wavy margins and can be between 4cm-8cm in length and 2cm-4cm in width.
The flowers grow in many clusters on the plant each having a main stalk. Each cluster consists of around 3-8 star shaped white flowers. Each flower is around 0.5cm-1.5cm in size and has 5 petals.
The berries/fruit are completely round (globular) and are between 0.3cm -1cm in size and turn from a green to a black/purple colour when they are ripe.Each berry contains many flat teardrop shaped yellow seeds that range in size from 0.1cm - 0.2cm.
THIS PLANT IS OFTEN CONFUSED WITH DEADLY NIGHTSHADE (Atropa belladonna) WHICH IS ACTUALLY NOT NATURALISED IN AUSTRALIA.
Only the black berries should be consumed as the green berries contain toxins.
The fully ripened black berries are edible raw and have a licorice/aniseed after taste in my opinion. They can be added to salads or even made into jams although due to the size of the berries that can be very time consuming.
The leaves can be used like spinich although i am yet to try.
Blackberry Nightshade has been used to treat burns and ulcers, ringworm, gout, earpain, inflammation, liver complaints and many skin conditions