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Solanum nigrumSolanum nigrum
Black nightshade
This Saturn plant favors borders between what is cultivated and what is wild just as Hekate knew the border between the dead and living well enough to lead Persephone from the Underworld back to the world of light and her mother, Demeter.  Like its relatives (belladonna, mandrake, henbane, datura, scopolia), this herb is often involved in lunar magick or works related to death and is an herb of ritual magick. In traditional witchcraft, it is employed in rain magic. 

This magick herb contains solanine, a cardiac poison, the same stuff in tomato leaves and in green skins of potatoes. The unripe fruits are the most poisonous part, and the ripe berries are the least so.  The amount of this alkaloid can be variable, and different people react differently to it.  Maoris eat the leaves of this plant like spinach, and the ripe berries are made into jam in various cultures.  
Solanum nigrum berriesBoiling destroys solanine, but baking does not.  At one time, the leaves were applied as a poultice to cause sedation and relieve pain, and they are made into an ointment used on cold sores. Despite Grieves' claim that this plant has atropine, it does not.  Likewise, black nightshade is not another name for henbane, although these two plants are cousins.  Culpeper says if you cannot tell the difference between black nightshade and deadly nightshade, don't use either. This baneful herb is also known as morel, black morel, petty morel, yerba mora, L'Homme, West Indian, common, and garden nightshade. Top

How to grow it: The Black Toad favors borders between the cultivated & the wild. It is often involved in lunar magick or works related to death. Unripe fruits are the most poisonous part; the ripe berries the least so. Start seeds indoors in spring in indirect light. Barely cover to germinate in 10-14 days at 65-70F/20C. Transplant 2ft/60cm apart after all danger of frost is over. An annual, this plant gets 1-3ft/30-90cm tall but can be larger. It doesnít contain atropine but does have the poisonous alkaloid solanine, same stuff as in the green parts of potatoes. Harvest ripe berries in August and September, if possible, after a light frost. To prepare, bring a pot of water to a boil. Pour in the berries and a teaspoon of baking soda and return to a boil for one minute. Pour off water & then cook berries in the way you intend to use them--as jam, as pie filling, etc. They are not eaten raw, and just plain baking does not destroy the alkaloid. Donít grow near datura, henbane, or belladonna or the berries will absorb those alkaloids. This plant will grow almost anywhere, even at high altitudes. General growing info Top


Solanum nigrum
Black Nightshade
100 seeds $3.50

This seed is subject to state-specific shipping prohibitions.


Get some black nightshade ink made from the berries

Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Honoring Hekate
Lunar Magic
Honoring the Dead
Ritual Magic
Saturn Herb

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