The pest search is moving to the Tiaki Tāmaki Makaurau website from early June 2021. Find out more.

Woolly Nightshade

South America

General description

Perennial shrub or small tree < 4 m tall. Leaves are grey/green, ovate and densely covered in furry hairs. Flowers are purple and borne in clusters at end of branches. Fruit is a dull yellow berry.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell woolly nightshade. As woolly nightshade is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant woolly nightshade within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any woolly nightshade on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.
  • If you occupy land within the buffer area of a park where woolly nightshade is being managed, you must destroy all woolly nightshade on that land. View a map of park buffers where this applies. To find out more about how we’re protecting Auckland’s parkland from pest plants, visit our pest plant buffer pages.
Auckland Council will control woolly nightshade at all sites within the Aotea/Great Barrier Island group where it is known to occur.

If you see woolly nightshade anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at

Disturbed habitat, open scrub or forest, roadsides, riparian and field margins, urban areas.

Seeds dispersed by birds and gravity.

Forms dense stands, inhibiting native vegetation regeneration. Displaces pasture species and reduces food availability for stock. Contact may cause skin irritation and respiratory problems.

Site Management

Avoid using picloram near streams and wetlands. Trees are best controlled standing and allowed to breakdown slowly. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group. Please report to Auckland Council if seen on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.

Physical control

Method: Dig or pull out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Check for presence of agents:
Woolly nightshade lace bug (Gargaphia decois)

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
For small stems cut near ground and paste with double strength glyphosate or picloram gel
Frill stem and paste fresh cuts with double strength glyphosate gel or picloram gel

Safety notes

Plant can cause irritation to the throat and skin.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

white-edged nightshade
Solanum marginatum

White-edged nightshade has spiny leaves and stems.

angel's trumpet
Brugmansia candida

Angels trumpet has similar leaves but has giant hanging white (occ mauve, red, orange) flowers, with a sweet scent.

devil's fig
Solanum torvum

Devil's fig has lobed leaf margins and white flowers.

Search tags

RPMP status

Aotea (Eradication)
Parkland with Significant Ecological Areas (Site-led)
Whole region (Sustained Control)
National Pest Plant Accord Species
Woolly nightshade - Main species image