Woolly nightshade

Solanum mauritianum

Pest group: Plants
Pest type: Shrubs and trees

Perennial shrub or small tree no taller than 4m. Woolly nightshade displaces pasture species as well as causing skin irritation and respiratory issues.


  • Leaves are grey/green, ovate and densely covered in downy hairs.
  • Flowers are purple and borne in clusters at the end of branches.
  • Fruit is a dull yellow berry.
  • Seeds are dispersed by birds and gravity.
  • Habitats include disturbed habitat, open scrub or forest, roadsides, riparian and field margins and urban areas.

What you need to know

Forms dense stands, inhibiting native vegetation regeneration. Displaces pasture species and reduces food availability for stock. Contact may cause skin irritation and respiratory problems.

Management approach

This is a declared pest managed under the Canterbury Regional Management Plan 2018 – 2038 (PDF file, 10.6MB) within the exclusion programme.


Pests in the exclusion programme are not known to be established in Waitaha/Canterbury. If these pests were to become widely established, their impacts could be severe. Therefore, early intervention by preventing their establishment is a cost-effective management approach.

The community should make us aware of any woolly nightshade plants in Waitaha/Canterbury.

woolly nightshade is also an unwanted organism regulated under the National Plant Pest Accord.


Any species declared a pest cannot be sold or be in a place where plants are being sold. Pest plants cannot be propagated, bred, multiplied, communicated, released, caused to be released, or otherwise spread.


Do not attempt to undertake control of woolly nightshade. Please report any sightings to us.