E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Hyoscyamus niger
black henbane (stinking nightshade)
Solanaceae (Potato family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Orville Dyer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25167)

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Distribution of Hyoscyamus niger
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Black henbane originates in Eurasia and was introduced to North America as a medicinal and ornamental species (Idaho's Noxious Weeds 2011). It is now found in the northern US and several Canadian provinces, including British Columbia (USDA 2011). In British Columbia, it is reported from several areas in the southern part of the province, including Invermere, the area west of Williams Lake, and the Chopaka area. The earliest collection record for it in the UBC Herbarium is from Invermere, collected in 2004 by Frank Lomer.

Black henbane is a member of the Solanaceae (Potato Family) that is found on nutrient rich soils. It is an unpleasant-smelling annual/biennial species covered in soft, sticky hairs. It is 1 m or less in height with spikes of yellow-green, purple-throated flowers that appear in June. Fruit is a capsule. Seeds are small and black and exhibit dormancy. Roots are thick and cylindrical. This species is cultivated in Asia, Europe and North Africa for bird feed. It is a narcotic species and although it has been used medicinally, it is considered poisonous to humans and livestock.

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