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Jasmine Nightshade Solanum laxum

Previously known as:

  • Solanum dietrichiae
  • Solanum jasminoides
Phonetic Spelling
so-LAY-num LAX-um
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The potato vine is a sweet-scented and fast-growing semi-evergreen vine that is native to South America. This ornamental flowering plant can quickly cover a trellis or fence and blooms profusely from summer to fall with white star-shaped flowers. In mild winter climates, it is evergreen and is tolerant of temperatures down to 20 degrees F.  The plant is a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.

The potato vine is a native of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. It is currently cultivated in warm temperate zones or tropical mountain regions. The plant has been introduced in Egypt, Ethiopia, Australia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. The ornamental vine is frequently grown in parks and gardens. It is hardy to zones 9a to 11b.

The genus name, Solanum, is from the Latin word solamen, which means "comforting or soothing." The species name was previously Solanum jasminoides.

The plant is best grown in fertile well-drained soil in full sun to light shade with moderate moisture. It prefers neutral to slightly alkaline soils of chalk, loam, or sand. It can be trained to climb a trellis or fence or even grown in pots or window boxes for a cascading appearance. The potato vine can be over-wintered in a sunny window and prefers sheltered south or west-facing position. Pruning may be required to control the plant size and is best done in the spring. It is reproduced by semi-hardwood cuttings in the late summer or early fall. Propagation by layering is best done during the summer.

The stems are slender, woody, and twining. The leaves are small, glossy, and dark green. The flowers are fragrant, star-shaped white blooms with yellow stamens. The berry-like fruit is bluish, purplish, or black.  There are 10-32 seeds per berry. 

The plant is deer resistant. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers, and many birds disperse the seeds.

All parts of the plant and in particular the berries are toxic and dangerous to pets and children if ingested. They contain an alkaloid known as Solanine. Symptoms of poisoning include confusion, vomiting, and diarrhea. When handling the plant, it is best to wear protective clothing and gloves.

The potato vine is easy to grow and maintain.  In temperate climates, it may be trained to climb a trellis, fence, arbors, or sheltered wall. For colder climates, it may be used as a summer patio container plant.  The plant also does well in coastal gardens.  Be mindful that the plant is vulnerable to freezing temperatures and is risky for pets and children.

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Summer and Fall         Fruits:  Fall       

Quick ID Hints:

  • semi-evergreen vigorous climbing vine
  • woody and twining stems
  • small dark green ovate to ovate-lanceolate leaves
  • star-shaped white blooms with yellow stamens
  • small berry-like fruits of blue, purple, or shiny black

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The plant may be susceptible to aphids, red spider mites, tomato spotted wilt, and gray mold.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Album'
    jasmine scented white flowers with golden centers
  • 'Album Variegatum'
    Variegated gold and green leaves and white flowers
'Album', 'Album Variegatum'
Tags:
#cultivars#hummingbirds#fragrant flowers#white flowers#shrub#cottage garden#fences#trellises#climbing vines#neutral ph#deer resistant#non-edible berries#blue fruits#alkaline soils tolerant#black fruits#twining vine#garden walls#vine#problem for cats#problem for dogs#skin irritation#problem for children#problem for horses#perennial vines#toxic to humans#sheltered
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Album'
    jasmine scented white flowers with golden centers
  • 'Album Variegatum'
    Variegated gold and green leaves and white flowers
'Album', 'Album Variegatum'
Tags:
#cultivars#hummingbirds#fragrant flowers#white flowers#shrub#cottage garden#fences#trellises#climbing vines#neutral ph#deer resistant#non-edible berries#blue fruits#alkaline soils tolerant#black fruits#twining vine#garden walls#vine#problem for cats#problem for dogs#skin irritation#problem for children#problem for horses#perennial vines#toxic to humans#sheltered
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Solanum
    Species:
    laxum
    Family:
    Solanaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South America
    Distribution:
    Native: Southeast and South Brazil to Northeast Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay; Introduced: Azores, Bolivia, Brazil West Central, Canary Islands, Cape Provinces, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, New South Wales, Pakistan, Peru, Queensland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe
    Wildlife Value:
    The flowers attract hummingbirds. The seeds are dispersed by birds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Fragrance
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Edibility:
    Non-edible. The plant is toxic if ingested.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Cascading
    Climbing
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a berry that ranges in color from dark blue, purple to shiny black. The berry is globular or ovoid and measures 7-9 mm in diameter. Each berry has 10-32 seeds. The seeds are ovoid to disc-shaped and light to dark brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are loose terminal clusters of up to 20 white star-shaped blooms with five triangular petals and prominent yellow stamens. The flowers are showy and sweet-scented. The flowers bloom from summer to fall.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate, simple, dark green, and glossy. The margins are deeply lobed. Young leaves measure 3 inches long and up to 1-inch wide. The leaf is smooth except for hairy tufts in the leaf axils and on the lower surface of the leaf at the axils of large veins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems can grow up to 50 feet long and are semi-woody. The leaf stems are slender and twining. They measure up to 1-inch long.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    If ingested, the leaves or berries are dangerous to children and pets. The vines are very toxic and may damage the kidneys, brain, heart, and liver. Symptoms of alkaloid poisoning include confusion, dilated pupils, diarrhea, vomiting, and weakness. The plant irritates the skin when handled. It is best to wear protective clothing and gloves.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Solanine alkaloid
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems