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Solanum Nigrum (Black Nightshade)- 50 seeds
Although they both have black berries and share the nightshade name, solanum nigrum is distinct from Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade) in many ways. Like Henbane, it is said to have originated in Eurasia, eventually being spread to the Americas. Black nightshade’s flowers appear as white stars with large yellow anthers. The plant has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times to treat ailments such as rheumatism, liver and skin disease and gout. It was used to treat fevers, stomach disorders and Asthma. The leaves were considered especially helpful in treating skin disorders. It is said that, the seeds alone can be rubbed on cheeks to assist the removal of freckles. The fruit has also been used in cosmetics.
Solanum Nigrum is said to be a cardiac tonic which reduces excitement, irritation and pain. The plant, used whole or as a decoction, is beneficial in the treatment of the disease, dropsy. It increases the secretion and discharge of urine. It has also been used for diabetes. The juice of the herb or a prepared ointment (Decoction of stalk, leaves, roots) are believed to be good for wounds, cancerous sores and tumors.
Its berries are poisonous but an extract can be produced by boiling the leaves and fruits. From there, it can be used for discomfort due to liver related-illnesses and even jaundice. The toxicity of the plant is said to vary, with the highest concentrations being found in the early fall. Some reports suggest that the black berries have a low enough solanine content to be eaten by adults, and there are reports of boiled leaves being eaten by various peoples. The boiling is said to remove the toxins, while other methods of cooking would not. Ingestion of leaves of the plant, in small amounts, induces perspiration and helps work to purge bowels the next day. The leaves of black nightshade were once used as a vegetable and supposedly blend well with other greens. The juice of the leaves can be mixed with medium like coconut water, coconut milk, buttermilk, cow’s milk and fruit juice. The ripe fruit can be used as a vegetable once toxins are destroyed. The leaves of this plant are somewhat bitter, according to some people. But once they are cooked, any bitterness is removed. Used as a tonic, the fruits of the plant serve as an effective but mild laxative and can improve appetite. Although not as toxic as belladonna, solanum nigrum is still very poisonous and can result in many of the same symptoms if ingested.
WARNING: Despite this plant’s beauty, all parts including the seeds contain compounds that are poisonous if ingested. Do not ingest for any reason and keep away from curious pets and children.
Growing Information: Like those of many other nightshades, Black nightshade seeds have germination inhibitors in its seeds to make sure that all the seeds do not germinate at once in the event that unfavorable conditions should arise afterwards. Seeds should be cold stratified in the fridge for two weeks before sowing. Soaking them in water that is changed regularly during this period will help leach off the germination inhibitors. As an alternative, they may be placed in a moist paper towel in a zipper baggie while in the fridge. If sowing outdoors, sowing in December will provide a natural cold stratification. Pretreatment with gibberellic acid will also improve and even out germination if available.
Afterwards, sow them in pots in a well-draining sandy soil and keep them at about 80 degrees. Transplant the seedlings at two inches to a shady outdoor location. Damp conditions are favorable. Although, Nightshade prefersfertile cultivated soils that are high in nitrogen, it may grow in a variety of soils ranging from sandy-gravelly. Germination naturally begins in spring and continues through the summer. It is very sensitive to shading and crop competition making the growth and seed production severely decreased. Light is needed with at least six hours of direct sun daily. Keep away from cold draughts in the winter months. The soil should be kept moist but never allow the plant to stay in standing water. Solanum begins to flower by mid-June and berries mature 4-5 weeks after flowering occurs. During the warm spring and summer months, the plant can be kept outdoors but when temperatures begin to drop again, Nightshade will need to be pruned back to half the stem's length by late winter. This will allow for new growth as well as remove dead stems and leaves! Reduce water during the winter months. NOTE: Leaves that seem to be falling off the plant too early can be sign that your plant is too watered down. Berries that seem to be dropping from the plant prematurely can mean that the plant is not getting enough sun, or not enough oxygen or moisture. *The leaves of the nightshade should be misted frequently.*