Solanum tampicense Dunal.

Wetland nightshade

Nonnative to FloridaFederal Noxious Weed ListFISC Category 1 Invasive

Species Overview

Native to: Belize, Mexico, and West Indies 

Wetland nightshade is an aggressive rambling shrub that is covered in prickles and forms dense thickets. It was first reported from the Dry Tortugas in 1974, and then found on the Florida mainland near Ft. Myers in 1983. Wetland nightshade is considered an accidental or possibly natural introduction, as its its fleshy berries are attractive to frugivorous birds that disperse its seeds. Wetland nightshade opportunistically grows in swamps, open marsh, shorelines, forest floodplains, and disturbed sites.

Species Characteristics

Family: Solanaceae 

Habit: Sprawling, prickly shrub up to 15 feet in height that forms dense, tangled thickets. 

Leaves: Alternate, simple. Leaves are ovate to lanceolate with rounded pinnate lobes, and between 3-9 inches long. Recurved and straight prickles may be present on both the top and underside of the leaf’s veins. Only stellate hairs are present on the stem and leaves.  

Flowers: Emerging from the leaf axils, flowers are clustered, small, white, with five petals and yellow stamens held erect together in the center. Petals are spread or recurved and fused only at base.  

Fruit: Small berry (3/8 inch in diameter) that turns from green, to orange, then bright red at maturity. Resembles a tomato. Contains 10-60 flat, yellowish seeds.  

Distribution in Florida: Found throughout central and southern Florida with the greatest infestations occurring along Fish Eating Creek and the Peace River. Currently, it has been reported as far north as Escambia county. 


Little research has been done regarding the impacts of Wetland nightshade on biodiversity and local ecosystem services. However, it grows rapidly in undisturbed wetlands, forming large and impenetrable thickets that climb over native flora. Wetland nightshade has altered the natural state of several important Florida basins, such as the Peace River drainage and the Big Cypress Swamp drainage. 

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Do not plant. Securely dispose of all plant material to prevent regrowth.


Hand pulling may be effective for smaller plants or sprouts. All plant material should be burned or carefully placed into trash bags until it has decomposed and is nonviable. Gloves, long sleeves, and a face protectant should be used when removing wetland nightshade due to its sharp prickles and stellate hairs.


Cutting with a string trimmer or mower will eliminate shoot growth, but plants will rapidly regrow. All cut shoot material has the potential to re-root and grow if left on moist soil.


There are no biological controls available for this species.


Recommended herbicides for the treatment of Solanum tampicense Dunal. Primarily include triclopyr and glyphosate. Aminopyralid is also highly effective but cannot be used in wetlands when standing water is present. 

Learn more about this species

Ask IFAS Solanum spp.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas 

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Noxious Weeds

USF Plant Atlas: Florida Invasive Plants

Edited by Cassandra Calabro on 5/15/2024