White Brazilian nightshade is an easy-to-grow vine related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and has very similar looking flowers. Click to download a large version (800x600) of this image.
Whatever you call it - Italian jasmine, St. Vincent lilac, or Brazilian nightshade - this is an evergreen twining vine that can reach over 20 ft (6 m) in length. It blooms during warm months with drooping 6 in (15 cm) clusters of star shaped blue-purple, pink or white 1 in (2.5 cm) flowers. The flowers have prominent yellow anthers. The showy panicles of flowers are followed by small but also showy red berries that are attractive to birds. The leaves are about 8 in (20 cm) long and may be entire or have 3-5 lobes.
Location Solanum seaforthianum is native to tropical South America.
Like most members of the nightshade genus Solanum, Brazilian nightshade grows best in moist, well drained, fertile soil. Light: Sun in the morning and partial shade in the hot afternoon is ideal for this vine. Moisture: Soil should be moist to average for best growth but healthy plants are able to survive drought and dry conditions. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8B is the northernmost boundary for this tender tropical vine. In frostfree areas it remains evergreen throughout the year. Propagation: Propagate from stem tip cuttings or by layering. Sow seed in spring.
In tropical climates, use this easy going vine for year long coverage of arbors, gazebos, and trellises. Let it climb up a palm, pine or other tree so the showy flowers can adorn the clear tree trunk. Brazilian nightshade is a good choice anywhere a vine is desirable.
The fast growing Brazilian nightshade is prized for its hanging panicles of showy flowers and the pretty little berries that follow. Other members of the nightshade genus include the potato (S. tuberosum) and the eggplant (S. melongena).
Many of the nightshades are poisonous if ingested. Presumably the fruits, leaves and flowers of Brazilian nightshade are too.