Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Silverleaf nightshade

with 23 comments

One native plant that has flourished since the spring and has paid no heed to this year’s drought is silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium (and why do botanists have a thing for hard-to-spell names with three vowels in a row?). Common on roadsides all over central Texas, where at least some plants can usually still be found flowering right into the cold of winter, this nightshade is covered with soft hairs that give it a grayish-green appearance (gray being the poor man’s version, the true version in this case, of silver). Look at this photograph of a silverleaf nightshade bud and tell me if it doesn’t look like it’s made of felt. Touch it if you will but taste it not, because like other nightshades it’s poisonous.

For more information about Solanum elaeagnifolium, including a clickable map showing the many places in the United States where this species grows, you can visit the USDA websiste.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 24, 2011 at 5:47 AM

23 Responses

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  1. Fabulous photo!


    September 24, 2011 at 5:57 AM

  2. Nice !


    September 24, 2011 at 7:21 AM

  3. WOW!!


    September 24, 2011 at 7:42 AM

  4. Excellent close-up! It really does look like felt – a lovely felt flower to be pinned on a hat!


    September 24, 2011 at 7:45 AM

    • So you felt the same way I did about the felt—though I never thought of pinning one of these on a hat.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 24, 2011 at 7:49 AM

  5. I knit and when I felt a piece it looks just like this flower! Again, man copies nature… 🙂


    September 24, 2011 at 8:15 AM

    • Yes, we filter nature through our human senses. (And the etymologist that inhabits me in a parallel universe can’t help pointing out that the words filter and felt are related: felt has long been used to filter liquids.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 24, 2011 at 8:40 AM

  6. Great shot! It looks like it was made out of wool!


    September 24, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    • Yes, it seems to be fabric—but then traditional fabrics came from plant fibers and animal hairs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 24, 2011 at 3:42 PM

  7. so beautiful..must share it with others!


    September 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM

  8. I miss being able to allow poisonous plants, no matter how beautiful, on my ranch. Have to be so careful what my livestock has access to. Nevertheless, the roadways of Texas are maintained in such a way as to display many gorgeous plants we may not see otherwise – and your site presents them in such an enticing and beautiful way. Thank you for all your difficult and diligent work!


    September 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    • Thanks, June, for appreciating my difficult and diligent work in promoting our native plants, especially those that are undersung.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2011 at 5:16 PM

  9. […] post featured the bud of a silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium, one of the most common wildflowers in central Texas. The plant’s […]

  10. […] on December 1 is the drying fruit of silveleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium, a plant whose bud and flower appeared in October posts highlighting the prairie restoration at the Elisabet Ney […]

  11. […] 2011 I showed photographs of a bud and the center of a flower of silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium, one of the most common […]

  12. Even before I read your thoughts, the image of a felted flower came immediately to my mind. It almost looks unreal.


    September 16, 2022 at 9:56 PM

    • It’s hard to deny how felt-like this looks. That raises the question of whether someone could make a model out of felt that would look just like the real thing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2022 at 9:59 PM

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