skip to main content

On the hunt for Woolly Nightshade

WN Trevor James

The Regional Council is urging people to keep an eye out for the colour purple, as the Woolly Nightshade’s flowers are easier to spot right now.

Darin Underhill, the Regional Council’s Biosecurity Team Leader for Pest Plants, says it’s a good time of year to make sure this pest plant isn’t growing.

“We want people to be on the lookout as Woolly Nightshade is easier to spot in gardens when other deciduous trees lose their leaves”, says Darin. “It’s especially important to keep an eye out right now, because our pest plant team are able to respond, even under a Level 2 or 3 lockdown.”

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

“While there isn’t much Woolly Nightshade in the region, we want to keep it that way. Our long-term goal is to eradicate it completely, and to do that we need the community’s help,” adds Darin.

Woolly Nightshade is poisonous. People handling it may suffer nausea and irritation of the skin and respiratory tract. Plants must be destroyed or prevented from seeding wherever they appear.

If you spot any Woolly Nightshade plants on your land, get in touch with the Regional Council pest plant team on 0800 108 838,, or on our Facebook page.

 Photo: The purple flowers of Woolly Nightshade. Credit Trevor James.

12 May 2020

Back to News Archive

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Hawke's Bay Regional Council - / +64 6 835 9200 /