"Branching annual, 1.5–6 dm, glabrous, or somewhat strigose or incurved-puberulent especially above; lvs petiolate; ovate to deltoid, irregularly blunt-toothed or subentire, 2–8 × 1–5.5 cm; peduncles numerous, ascending, to 3 cm, the pedicels closely clustered (forming an umbelliform infl), mostly deflexed at least in fr; mature cal 2–3 mm, the lobes often unequal, sometimes reflexed; cor white or faintly bluish, 5–10 mm wide; frs globose, black, 8 mm, poisonous at least when young, many-seeded and often with 1–10 subglobose concretions to half as long as the seeds; polyploid series based on x=12. A cosmopolitan weed of disturbed habitats, highly diversified, but not yet satisfactorily resolved into discrete taxa, in spite of many attempts. The native N. Amer. plants, as here described, are all diploid, so far as known; the oldest name for these at the specific level may be S. ptychanthum Dunal (S. americanum Mill., probably misapplied). At the varietal level the name would be S. nigrum var. virginicum L. Typical European S. nigrum is only casual with us, mainly about our large Atlantic ports. It is hexaploid and more pubescent (the hairs short, ± spreading and somewhat viscid), with a more nearly racemiform (but still compact) infl."
A weed 1-2 ft. or more high, sometimes cultivated
Stamen filaments 0.3–1.5 mm long; anthers 1.5–2.5(2.8) mm long, oblong.
Calyx 1.2–2.5 mm long, campanulate, in fruit elongated to 3.5 mm; lobes 0.3–1.2 × 0.3–1.2 mm, obovate, semi-elliptic or ovate to ± triangular, rounded to acute, sparsely pubescent with more numerous hairs towards the apex outside, in fruit enlarged to 3 × 2 mm, appressed or scarcely reflexed.
Corolla white, cream or yellowish, with or without a conspicuous yellow-green eye, rarely flushed with purple or pale blue, (4)5–7(9) mm across, rotate or stelliform; lobes 1.5–4 × 0.8–2.3 mm, oblong or ovate to lanceolate, rarely linear, ± acute, puberulous outside.
Leaves solitary or sometimes paired; petiole 0.3–6.5 cm long, ± narrowly winged distally; lamina 2–14 × 0.7–7.3 cm, elliptic to ovate-lanceolate or ovate, base sub-truncate or rounded to cuneate, oblique, ± decurrent into the petiole, apex acute or obtuse, ± acuminate, entire to sinuate-dentate, both surfaces ± pubescent, with more numerous hairs along the veins and towards the margins, glabrescent.
Cymes lateral, unbranched, lax and often extended, (3)5–10-flowered; peduncle 0.3–2 cm long, slender, erect or ascending, in fruit occasionally elongated a little, ascending to deflexed; pedicels 3–8.5 mm long, slender, decurved to ascending, in fruit elongated to 12 mm, deflexed.
Erect or widely spreading annual to short-lived perennial, sometimes forming dense clumps up to 2 m across and 1.5 m high, (5)25–70(150) cm tall, sometimes flushed with purple, pubescent to villous with simple, curved, usually appressed, eglandular or glandular hairs, glabrescent.
Branches ± angular to narrowly winged, the edges smooth or with widely spaced short teeth or prickle-like hairs.
Ovary c. 1 mm in diameter, ± globose to ellipsoid, glabrous; style 2–4.5 mm long, straight or sigmoidal, the stigma level with the tip of the anthers or protruding by up to 2 mm.
Fruits often dull, black or purplish-black to yellow-green, opaque, 6–10 mm in diameter, usually broadly ovoid, smooth, usually without sclerotic granules, glabrous, edible when mature.
Seeds with light bone-colour and sometimes flushed with purple, 1.7–2.4 mm long, ± obovate in outline, minutely pitted all over.
Plants subglabrous to villous annuals up to 70 cm high, covered with simple multicellular hairs with glandular or eglandular heads. Stems decumbent to erect. Leaves ovate, ovate-lanceolate, ovate-rhombic to lanceolate, 2.5-7.0 cm long x 2.0-4.5(6.0) cm broad, margins entire to sinuate-dentate. Inflorescences simple, lax and often extended cymes, (3)5 to 10-flowered; peduncles (8)14-28 mm fruiting when usually erecto-patent; pedicels much shorter, recurved in fruit. Calyces 1.2-2.5 mm long, slightly accrescent, deflexed or adhering to base of mature berry, sepals usually ovate. Corollas stellate, white with translucent basal star, (4)5-7(9) mm radius, usually 1.5-3 times as long as calyx. Anthers yellow, 1.5-2.5(2.8) mm long. Styles 2.8-3.5(4.5) mm long, not exserted beyond anthers. Berries usually broadly ovoid, dull purple to blackish or yellowish-green, 6-10 mm broad, remaining on plants or falling from calyces when ripe. Seeds 1.7-2.4 mm long, (15)26-60(96) per berry. Sclerotic granules absent.
Annual or biennial herb, up to 1 m high, unarmed. Leaves sinuate-dentate or rarely entire, pubescent with simple hairs. Flowers in umbellate cymes. Corolla 10-14 mm in diameter. Fruit black, rarely red or yellow. Flowers white.
Annual or biennial herb, up to 0.85 m high. Spines absent. Leaves petiolate; blade ± broadly elliptic to ovate, ± 65 x 40 mm, apex acute, base cuneate, margins sinuate-dentate or entire, ± pubescent with simple hairs. Flowers: in few-flowered, umbellate cymes, randomly arranged on stem; corolla 10-14 mm in diameter, white; Oct.-Jul. Fruit a black, rarely red or yellow berry, 6-7 mm in diameter.
Glabrous to thinly hairy annual to 1 m. Leaves soft, ovate-lanceolate, often toothed, to 10 cm long. Flowers 5-10 in clusters, white, to 5 mm diam. Berries black, to 10 mm diam.
Erect, branched annual, up to 0.85 m tall. Leaves petiolate, lanceolate to elliptical, up to 120 mm long, entire to serrate, ± glabrous to hairy. Flowers few, in ± drooping umbels, 10-14 mm diam., white, sepals deflexed or adhering to base of mature berry. Ripe berries dull purple to blackish, broadly ovoid, 6-10 mm in diam., held in drooping clusters from outspread peduncles, edible (as jam).
Wide variety of vegetation types, also secondary vegetation. Weedy in disturbed places.
Dry Grassland; Dwarf Karroid Shrubland. Weed of open, fairly dry areas.
Originally perhaps Eurasia and Africa. Now also naturalized and weedy in temperate and tropical North America, Australia, New Zealand. Common in all provinces in South Africa.