Couldn’t resist looking back into the archives and reintroducing this common misnomer, the DEADLY NIGHTSHADE!
Unfortunately, most people are still unable to make a clear distinction between this highly edible plant (Solanum Ptychanthum) and its arch nemesis Atropa Beladonna (the REAL deadly nightshade). Here in central KY, the Solanum Ptychanthum is not only edible but has extremely tasty berries (edible ONLY when RIPE!).
Before starting this blog we came across a veritable feast of wild edibles. This one usually strikes fear into the eyes of many first-time foragers, due to its apparent close relationship with Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade). There are 4 distinct types of Black Nightshade scattered throughout the US, and this particular one is more prevalent in the eastern region of the US.
Both Solanum Nigrum and Solanum Ptycanthum are two of the interchangeable terms used to describe Black Nightshade here in Kentucky in accordance with the Solanum Nigrum Complex. The reason for categorizing the plant in this way is for a clear distinction of which plant you are viewing, depending on the region in which you live.
Both the young shoots and ripe black berries are completely edible and quite tasty. Treat the greens like you would a Pokeweed plant and harvest early. The greens become bitter if you wait to harvest after the flowers have appeared.