which nightshade is this?

Asked July 25, 2019, 12:30 PM EDT

Hi, I have some nightshade in my pasture. I believe it is Solanum sarrachoides, but my app is telling me it is Solanum nigrum. Can you help me determine what I have? Also, is there a significant toxicity (to horses) difference between the two?

Washtenaw County Michigan horses horse pasture

1 Response

From looking at these 2 pictures, it appears the plant is Solanum nigrum. In contrast, on hairy nightshade, leaves will be prominently hairy and the foliage often feels sticky.
Regardless, plants of the nightshade family (Solanum species) contain a glycoalkaloid called solanine. Toxicity is highest in green berries but all parts of the plant can be toxic. Horses generally do not eat these plants unless there is no other available forage/feed source. However, it would be wise to use caution and remove these plants from the pasture. Solanum species affects the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tracts of horses. It is estimated that one to ten pounds of consumed plant material could be fatal to horses.