My Asian & Indian friends tell me that the ripe berries are quite edible. I know it's not the same as deadly nightshade but I'm still leery. Anyone know?
There are probably enough plants called Black Nightshade that you should be very careful which one you have. It is a huge family with several toxic members.
And remember that "the dosage makes the poison". Some member of this family have a reputation for being edible cooked, but not raw, too. I ordered some non-tomato members of the nightshade family this year (two with black berries), but didn't get the seeds planted in time for this year.
I had used what is called Solanum Nigrum, in India - especially the leaves and ripe berries - with lot of success - to treat sores in mouth.
Here in the US, though I located them with good fruits right in my backyard, I found them to be quite bitter.
However, here are some info about the plant itself. See the note about the ripe berries. It may be worth to take it to a horticultural dept in a nearby university and test it out.
There was a thread about this on the herbalism forum...
Here is a link that might be useful: nightshade
in the herbs forum
Here is a link that might be useful: herbs
I'm 75 now but as a kid in the 30's in South Dakota,my Mom had night shade plants in her garden. The night shades were about the size of peas. They were shiny black when she picked them and she made a sauce with them that we ate for dessert. You would slowly pour thick cream on the black sauce and make a design with the white cream till it slowly sunk into the sauce. It was so so good. Thanks for bringing back the memory.
Different varieties of black nightshade have different levels of poison in them, so it depends on what variety you have. Some varieties are safe to eat raw, others must be thoroughly cooked to destroy the poison.
depends on which "black nightshade". The "black nightshade" native to the US (Southern US I know for a fact) is actually S. americanum. It has small berries in a small cluster that are SHINY black when ripe. If these are fully ripe, they are indeed quite edible. If they have the least bit of green, they are still poisonous. Another one, the S nigrum, has berries that are black when ripe, but they are NOT shiny. Those I am not so familiar with.