Indian Nightshade (Solanum khasianum)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Herb Hanko
Posted on: October 31, 2003

I bought some Indian Nightshade (Solanum khasianum) seeds from you. I was planning to plant them in my front garden, where many children walk by.

Then I found out that Nightshade is a deadly poison, but the species so described is Atropa belladonna.

Being a novice I don’t know if these names are just different names for the same thing?

If not, are my Indian nightshades poisonous?

"Nightshade" is both a specific and general term. The Nightshade family, the Solonaceae, includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, as well as poisonous plants such as stramonium, and the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) which we list in our catalogue as "belladonna".

Certainly, deadly nightshade is poisonous and should never be planted where children have easy access. Its deep purple berries are enticing to little children and could cause death if ingested. We indicate this plant as poisonous in our catalogue with the skull and bones symbol near its name.

Indian nightshade, Solanum khasianum, is not the same as belladonna. It is not generally considered poisonous but it does contain potent alkaloids that could be harmful if ingested or used inappropriately. My recommendation is to find another area to grow it that is less likely to be frequented by children.

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