Woolly Nightshade

Solanum mauritianum

Also known as tobacco weed or nightshade tree, this capsicum-smelling tree of 10m is one of the most rampant weeds found in New Zealand and has made its way on to the top list of worst weeds in the country.

Woolly nightshade also produces toxins that poison the soil and causes slow regeneration for future and neighbouring plants.

This rapidly maturing plant has a whitish dusting of hairs over its leaves on branching, soft, woody stems. The flowers are purple with yellow centres and are followed by clusters of yellowy-green berries.

Berries are poisonous and the fine hairs on the leaves can irate eyes, skin and throat.

Seeds can be dispersed by birds, especially native pigeons (kereru).

Physical Control

Small plants (less than 60cm) can be pulled out and left to dry after shaking all dirt from the roots. Larger plants that are cut down need to have the stump treated with herbicide or they will regrow. Try not to disturb the soil.

Other Treatment

There are various other treatments that can be applied to treat this weed, such as:

Cut stump treatment

Drill and inject

Stem frilling

Basal treatment of trunk 

Spray application

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