Solanum seaforthianum
Common Name: Brazilian nightshade 
Type: Vine
Family: Solanaceae
Native Range: Tropical South America
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Bluish-purple, pink to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12 where it is best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of drought. Intolerant of frost. This vine aggressively self-seeds in the landscape and is considered invasive in many areas because of its ability to form dense monocultures which overwhelm native plants.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Solanum seaforthianum, commonly called Brazilian nightshade, is an aggressive woody perennial evergreen twining vine of the nightshade family. It is typically grown as an ornamental in tropical areas around the globe. Original native territory is unclear. Some authorities believe it is native to dry forests and dry scrub in the West Indies and in South American coastal areas of Colombia and Venezuela. Other experts suggest a larger native territory consisting of southern Florida, Mexico, Central America, tropical South America and the West Indies.

This vine typically grows to 20’ tall bearing nodding pendant clusters (axillary cymes to 6” across) of bluish-purple (less frequently pink to white) flowers with contrasting yellow anthers which bloom in summer on stems clad with broad-elliptic, rich green leaves (4-8” long). Leaves (4-8” long) are sometimes pinnate but are usually pinnatifid with 3-9 variably sized lobes. Flowers bloom mid to late summer. Flowers are followed by small showy berries (each to 5/16” diameter) which mature to scarlet red.

Genus name appears to come from the Latin word solamen meaning comfort, solace, or soothing in reference to the purported sedative and healing effects obtained from application of the leaves of some genus plants to cuts, wounds, inflammations or skin problems.

Specific epithet honors Lord Seaforth (Francis Mackenzie Humberston – 1754-1815) who was a British politician who served as Governor of the Caribbean island of Barbados from 1800 to 1806 during which time he reportedly sent back to England for cultivation a large number of West Indian plants including the within vine now named after him.


No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew, rots, both early and late blight, damping off and certain virus diseases. Watch for aphids, whiteflies, spider mites and thrips. Stems, leaves and fruit of this nightshade vine are poisonous if ingested.


Widely cultivated ornamental vine for tropical to sub-tropical areas. Arbors, fences, gazebos, trellises.