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Revealed!! What Is It Wednesday - Nightshade

This week for #whatisitwednesday we asked you to identify a plant that is native throughout N. America but is not a plant many people grow and cultivate on purpose. In fact, this plant has a bad reputation which it may not even deserve.

This week's plant was American Nightshade, Solanum americanum. Other common names include Glossy Nightshade, Black Nightshade, Ink-Berry, Common Nightshade, and even Deadly Nightshade. Check out the video at the end for the full reveal.

It is my understanding that every plant in the family Solanaceae are toxic to a certain degree. They contain a toxin called Solanine. Plants in this family include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplant. Solanine is found in all these food crops but is safe once fruits are ripe.

There is quite a bit of confusion around whether or not Black Nightshade can be included in that group. Many websites that are normally great resources for information speak only of the toxic traits of nightshade. I have linked in a few below.

But there are also numerous accounts of people eating nightshade they find or grow without any problems at all. While personal accounts do not generally hold as much value, at least in the scientific world, I can't ignore them. Especially, in today's world where it seems science can be just as manipulative as anyone else. Here are some links for this side of the conversation.

This is a link to probably the most neutral literature I could find. The information is hosted by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

It is my understanding that the nightshade found in N America is likely all safe to eat.... with some precautions. The first one being that berries need to be fully ripe prior to eating. The second one being that leaves need to be boiled before eating. And the third being you can successfully identify these nightshade species vs the true Deadly Nightshade, Atropa belladonna.

What do you think about nightshade? I'd love to hear from you. Keep the convo going below by leaving a comment.

See you.........................

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