Photo: M. Fagg ANBG

Photo: M. Fagg ANBG

Line drawing by M. Szent Ivany J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 4 (1981) 64, fig. 13.

Distribution map generated from Australia's Virtual Herbarium.


*Solanum triflorum Nutt., Gen. N. Amer. Pl. 1: 128 (1818)

T: Near Fort Mandan, North Dakota, U.S.A.; ?BM n.v.


Sprawling annual herb, green, sparsely pubescent with simple hairs; stems to 1 m long, sometimes rooting at nodes; prickles absent.  

Leaves ovate or elliptic; lamina 2–4 cm long, 1–2.5 cm wide, concolorous, shallowly lobed or dentate to deeply lobed; margin recurved and thickened; petiole 5–10 mm long.  

Inflorescence short, 1–3–flowered, with small terminal leaflet; peduncle 10–30 mm long; pedicels 3–5 mm long. Calyx 3–5 mm long; lobes lanceolate to narrowly triangular, 1.5–2 mm long, slightly larger and becoming reflexed in fruit. Corolla stellate, 5–6 mm diam., white or rarely pale lavender. Anthers 2.5 mm long.  

Berry globular, 8–12 mm diam., whitish-green, marbled. Seeds 1–2 mm long, light brownish-yellow. Stone-cell granules c. 1 mm diam. n=12.

Another description is available at

Distribution and ecology

Native to North America, locally naturalised in north-western Europe.

In Australia naturalised in cool temperate areas of south-eastern Qld, N.S.W., Vic., south-eastern S.A. and south-western W.A.

Common name

Cut-leaved nightshade, Cutleaf nightshade


A member of subg. Potatoe, species of which are usually creepers or vines with deeply lobed leaves and lacking spines or stellate hairs. American in origin.

Other species of this group in Australia are S. dulcamara, S. palitans, S. seaforthianum, S. laxum and S. tuberosum.



An annual summer weed of cultivation, characterised by its “evil smell”.

Suspected of poisoning sheep and cattle. Specimens with shallowly lobed leaves approach the European S. triflorum var. ponticum (Prodan) Borza.

Cutleaf Nightshade was first recorded as a naturalised plant in 1916 from Cooma, New South Wales (Symon 1981).

Derivation of epithet

tri-florum, Latin for three-flowered, a reference to the number of flowers in the inflorescence.

Selected specimens

W.A.: Wickepin area, 29 Mar. 1978, V.M. Leeson & Son (PERTH). S.A.: c. 80 km NW of Bordertown, 12 Feb. 1963, I.R. Fry (AD). Qld: near Ballandean, 20 Feb. 1974, I.F. Swan (BRI). N.S.W: Finley, D.E. Symon 9807 (AD, NSW). Vic.: Tambo River, T.B. Muir 2789 (MEL).

Plant status, if any

Currently declared as a Noxious weed in WA (Unassessed) and Tasmania - see

See for the Tasmanian Government sheet on this species.

From the web

Further information and links can be found on the Weeds in Australia site.

Further information on this species in NSW can be seen on the PlantNET site, for SA on the eFlora site  and for WA on the FloraBase site.

The United States Department of Agriculture Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) has numerous links for this species as has the Plants Profile site of the US Department of Agriculture.

Limited information is as yet available on the Solanaceae Source site.