Nightshade, Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara L.)
Poisoning by these Solanum species occurs primarily when animals are confined in overgrazed fields or where nightshade is abundant. The hazard of poisoning varies depending on the plant species, maturity of plants, and other conditions.
Generally, the leaves and green fruits are toxic. Ingestion of juice from wilted leaves may be especially toxic and sometimes deadly. Many cases of poisoning have been reported as a result of eating green berries. Green berries have produced severe intestinal, oral and esophageal lesions in sheep. Cattle reportedly seek out the berries of Solanum species and will eat the green plant, specially when other green forage is unavailable. Silverleaf nightshade (S. eleagnifolium) is exceptional in that the ripe fruit is more toxic than the green. S. eleagnifolium is toxic at only 0.1% of the body weight. Toxicity is not lost upon drying. Solanine content increases up to maturity. Solanine, except in potatoes, is reportedly destroyed by cooking. Potato (S. tuberosum) peelings contain the major portion of the toxic principle in the tuber, and leaves, sprouts and vines. Sun-greened potatoes are especially toxic. Spoiled potatoes and peelings also have caused severe poisoning. Cooking does not appear to destroy all the alkaloids in greened potatoes. Toxicity may vary with the soil, climate and other variables. Animals may browse potato plants or eat sprouted potatoes, leading to problems.
| Description | Distribution | Control | Toxic principle | Clinical signs |
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