Deadly Nightstade.

Botanical name: 

Solanum lethale

Also see: Common Nightshade - Deadly Nightshade.

It may seem strange to mix a poison among medicines, but a part of this herb has its uses. This is a wild plant of a dull and dismal aspect. It grows five feet high. The stalks are angulated, and of a deep green. The leaves are very large, broad, and flat, and they also are of a dull dead green. The flowers stand singly on long foot-stalks, arising from the bosom of the leaves, and they also have the same dismal aspect; they are large, hollow, and hang down. On the outside they are of a dusky colour, between brown and green, and within they are of a very deep purple. These are succeeded by berries of the bigness of cherries, black and shining when ripe, and full of a pulpy matter, of a sweetish and mawkish taste. The root is long. The berries are fatal; children have often eat them, and perished by it. The leaves externally applied are cooling and softening; they are good against the ringworm and tetters, and against hard swellings. They have very great virtue in this respect, but the plant should be kept out of the way of children, or never suffered to grow to fruit, as the leaves only are wanted.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.