Fact Sheets


Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Solanum dealbatum Lindl. (CABI 2021; Tropicos 2022)

Solanum flavidum Torr. (CABI 2021; Tropicos 2022)

Solanum leprosum Ortega (CABI 2021; Tropicos 2022)

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Silverleaf nightshade
(English) (GC 2016; CABI 2021)

Morelle jaune (French) (GC 2016)

White horsenettle (English) (ITIS 2021)

White nightshade (English) (ITIS 2021)

Meloncillo del campo (Spanish) (CABI 2021)

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium  seeds

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium  seeds

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium (Silverleaf nightshade) seeds

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium (Silverleaf nightshade) seed

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium seeds, hilum variation

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium  mature berries

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium  immature berries

  • Solanum elaeagnifolium (Silverleaf nightshade), dried fruit (berry) with visible seeds

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 1: Prohibited Noxious Weed Seeds
  • List of Pests Regulated by Canada
  • USA Federal Noxious Weed Seed List

Regulation Notes:

Prohibited Noxious, Class 1 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order (2016) under the Seeds Act. All imported and domestic seed must be free of Prohibited Noxious weed seeds.

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States (Boyd et al. 1984). Introduced elsewhere in North and South America and currently widespread in the United States in all but some northern states (USDA-ARS 2021). Also introduced to Australia, India, Egypt, South Africa, Spain and the Mediterranean area (Boyd et al. 1984). Solanum elaeagnifolium is absent from Canada (Brouillet et al. 2010+).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Cultivated fields, rangelands, grasslands, forests, coastal areas, marshes, riverbanks, roadsides and other disturbed areas, particularly in areas of low annual rainfall (CABI 2021). Affects a variety of crops, the main ones being Medicago sativa (alfalfa), Citrus spp. (citrus), Zea mays (corn), Gossypium hirsutum (cotton), Sorghum bicolor (sorghum) and Triticum aestivum subsp. aestivum (wheat) (Boyd et al. 1984; CABI 2021).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:


Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Solanum elaeagnifolium reproduces by seed and root fragments, and is distributed by wind, water, birds, machinery and as a contaminant in seed from infested fields (Boyd et al. 1984; CABI 2021). A dense population of plants are capable of producing up to 250 million seeds per hectare and the seeds have remained viable after 10 years of storage (Boyd and Murray 1982).

Root fragments as small as 10.0 mm long can produce shoots, and they can extend up to 2.0 metres from the plant (Boyd et al. 1984). Toxic alkaloids in the berries have sickened and killed cattle and sheep, and hay quality from infested fields is low due to spiny leaves and thick stems (Boyd et al. 1984).


Solanum elaeagnifolium fruits (Florida Division of Plant Industry , Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org)



  • Berry


    • Berry diameter: 0.6 – 1.2 cm (Knapp et al. 2017)


    • Berry is globose shaped

    Surface Texture

    • Berry is smooth


    • Berry is shiny yellow or orange when mature (Knapp et al. 2017)
    • Berry is mottled green when immature (Knapp et al. 2017)

    Other Features

    • The mature berries remain on the plant, becoming brittle as they age, the seeds are stuck together when dispersed from the broken berries (Knapp et al. 2017)
  • Seed


    • Seed length*: 2.2 – 3.5 mm; width: 1.7 – 3.0 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Round, oval, D-shaped or kidney-shaped seed, compressed in edge view

    Surface Texture

    • Smooth with wavy grooves, most evident along the edges of the seed


    • Seeds are shiny, generally light or medium brown, some seeds may be yellow or orange coloured

    Other Features

    Hilum and Hilum area

    • Hilum is along the narrow edge of the seed near one end
    • Hilum is generally open and may be filled with white tissue
    • Hilum is generally in a curved notch at the edge of the seed
  • Embryo


    • Embryo partially fills the seed


    • Embryo is circular


    • Endosperm is soft and translucent white

    Other Features

    • Embryo is in a peripheral position in the seed

Identification Tips


D-shaped seeds that are compressed or flattened in edge view is a common seed shape in the Solanaceae. Many Solanum seeds are small sized, yellowish coloured, with ridged reticulation and concave interspaces. S. elaeagnifolium seeds can be recognized by the large size, brownish colour and wavy grooved reticulation along the edges. The hilum is generally open, in a curved notch on the narrow edge.

Additional Botany Information



  • Flowers are star-shaped and 25.0 – 30.0 mm diameter, white or purple coloured with prominent yellow anthers (Boyd et al. 1984; Knapp et al. 2017)

Vegetative Features

  • Leaves are densely hairy with star-shaped hairs and appear grey in colour (Boyd et al. 1984)

Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Solanum carolinense L (horse nettle)

S. carolinense seeds (length*: 1.7 – 2.8 mm, width: 1.4 – 2.1 mm) are generally smaller, a bright yellow or orange colour with a faint wavy grooved reticulate pattern and a hilum flush with the edge compared to the brownish colour, grooves along the outside of the seed and a hilum usually located in a notch of S. elaeagnifolium.

* Note: minimum and maximum of 20 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


Solanum viarum Dunal

Solanum viarum seeds (length**: 2.1 – 2.5 mm; width: 1.8 – 2.3 mm) are generally smaller, but there is overlap in the two species size ranges. S. viarum seeds are a dull orangey brown, with a surface reticulation of thick, wavy ridges and small interspaces compared to S. elaeagnifolium seeds that are generally shiny brown with overall faint reticulation. The hilum of S. elaeagnifolium is egg-shaped or triangular shaped, open or filled with tissue, and usually in an obvious notch. The S. viarum hilum is a slit or spindle-shaped, either closed or with a hole (Scher et al. 2015), found in a slight notch or flush with the edge.

** Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)

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Boyd, J. W. and Murray. D. S. 1982. Growth and development of silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium). Weed Science 30: 238-243.

Boyd J. W., Murray, D. S. and Tyrl, R. J. 1984. Silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium, origin, distribution and relation to man. Economic Botany, 38:210-217.

Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Meades, S. J., Favreau, M., Anions, M., Bélisle, P. and Desmet, P. 2010+. VASCAN, the database of vascular plants of Canada. http://data.canadensys.net/vascan/ Accessed October 11, 2021.

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). 2021. Invasive Species Compendium, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/journal/cabicompendium Accessed October 11, 2021.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/2929892 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide.  https://www.idseed.org/authors/details/method_for_seed_size_measurement.html

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). 2021. https://www.itis.gov/ Accessed October 11, 2021.

Knapp, S., Sagona, E., Carbonell, A. K. Z. and Chiarini, F. 2017. A revision of the Solanum elaeagnifolium clade (Elaeagnifolium clade; subgenus Leptostemonum, Solanaceae) PhytoKeys: 1–104.

Scher, J. L., D. S. Walters, and A.J. Redford. 2015. Federal noxious weed disseminules of the U.S., Edition 2.2. California Department of Food and Agriculture, and USDA APHIS Identification Technology Program. Fort Collins, CO. http://idtools.org/id/fnw Accessed February 17, 2022.

Tropicos. 2022. Missouri Botanical Garden. https://tropicos.org Accessed February 24, 2022.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2021. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx Accessed October 11, 2021.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). 2022. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC USA. http://plants.usda.gov Accessed December 29, 2022.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle

Canadian Food Inspection Agency