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Look Out for Woolly Nightshade

Woolly nightshade flowering Copy

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council pest advisors are getting a good response this year to the ongoing campaign to target Woolly nightshade in Hawke’s Bay.

Woolly nightshade is poisonous and people handling it may suffer nausea and irritation of skin and respiratory tract. The plant is also extremely invasive and can prevent desirable plants from flourishing.   Woolly nightshade has limited distribution in the region, and the long-term goal is to eradicate it completely.  Plants must be destroyed or prevented from seeding wherever they appear.

“We want people to be on the look out now as Woolly nightshade is coming into flower making it easier to identify and helping us control plants before they form berries full of seeds,” says Alice McNatty, HBRC pest plant advisor.

Woolly nightshade is a spreading shrub or small tree that can grow up to 5m tall.  Leaves are grey green, oval and velvety, and it has dense clusters of violet flowers which become round, green berries that ripen to dull yellow. It can also be known as tobacco weed, flannel leaf or kerosene plant.

People can notify Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Pest Plant Advisors of any Woolly nightshade plants on their land by phoning 0800 108 838, or Council staff are also responding to people on Facebook who have reported the plant.

More information and identifying photos are on

10 April 2018

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