Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Hyoscyamus niger
(black henbane)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 08 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Hyoscyamus niger
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black henbane
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Hyoscyamus niger, an annual or biennial herb growing up to 1.5 m tall, is thought to have been native originally to a broad region of Eurasia. It is naturalized in many regions globally and is a noxious weed in...

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowers. Czech Republic.
TitleFlowers
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowers. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowers. Czech Republic.
FlowersHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowers. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. Czech Republic.
TitleHabit
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. Czech Republic.
HabitHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. USA.
TitleHabit
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. USA.
Copyright©Steve Dewey/Utah State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. USA.
HabitHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); flowering habit. USA.©Steve Dewey/Utah State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage and flowers. Czech Republic.
TitleFoliage and flowers
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage and flowers. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage and flowers. Czech Republic.
Foliage and flowersHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage and flowers. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage, flowers and seed capsules. Czech Republic.
TitleFoliage
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage, flowers and seed capsules. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage, flowers and seed capsules. Czech Republic.
FoliageHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); foliage, flowers and seed capsules. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Látó-hegy, Kunadacs, Hungary.
TitleSeed capsules
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Látó-hegy, Kunadacs, Hungary.
Copyright©Robert Vidéki/Doronicum Kft./Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Látó-hegy, Kunadacs, Hungary.
Seed capsulesHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Látó-hegy, Kunadacs, Hungary.©Robert Vidéki/Doronicum Kft./Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Czech Republic.
TitleSeed capsules
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Czech Republic.
Seed capsulesHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); ripe seed capsules. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); dissected seed capsule and seeds. Czech Republic.
TitleSeed capsule and seeds
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); dissected seed capsule and seeds. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); dissected seed capsule and seeds. Czech Republic.
Seed capsule and seedsHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); dissected seed capsule and seeds. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seeds. USA.
TitleSeeds
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seeds. USA.
Copyright©Steve Hurst/USDA NRCS PLANTS Database/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seeds. USA.
SeedsHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seeds. USA.©Steve Hurst/USDA NRCS PLANTS Database/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seedlings. Czech Republic.
TitleSeedlings
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seedlings. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seedlings. Czech Republic.
SeedlingsHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); seedlings. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); young plant. Czech Republic.
TitleYoung plant
CaptionHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); young plant. Czech Republic.
Copyright©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Hyoscyamus niger (black henbane); young plant. Czech Republic.
Young plantHyoscyamus niger (black henbane); young plant. Czech Republic.©Jan Samanek/State Phytosanitary Administration/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Hyoscyamus niger L.

Preferred Common Name

  • black henbane

Other Scientific Names

  • Hyoscyamus agrestis Kit.
  • Hyoscyamus bohemicus F.W. Schmidt
  • Hyoscyamus pallidus Waldst. & Kit. ex Willdenow

International Common Names

  • English: common henbane; henbane; hog’s bean; stinking nightshade
  • Spanish: beleno negro; chupa mieles; dormidera
  • French: herbe aux dents; jusquiame noire
  • Russian: belena chernaya
  • Chinese: tian xian zi

Local Common Names

  • Czech Republic: blen; blin
  • Germany: schwarzes Bilsenkraut
  • Italy: dente cavallino; erba del dento; guisquiamo nero
  • Korea, Republic of: saripul
  • Latvia: meln
  • Netherlands: bilzekruid
  • Poland: bielun
  • Portugal: meimendro-negro
  • Sweden: bolmört

EPPO code

  • HSYNI (Hyoscyamus niger)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

Hyoscyamus niger, an annual or biennial herb growing up to 1.5 m tall, is thought to have been native originally to a broad region of Eurasia. It is naturalized in many regions globally and is a noxious weed in much of North America. H. niger is cultivated as a medicinal plant in many countries, and risk of introduction is likely to be associated with commercial seed or as a seed contaminant. Once established, H. niger is capable of producing thousands of highly viable seeds per plant. However, its competitive ability appears to be limited to disturbed and cultivated areas.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Solanales
  •                         Family: Solanaceae
  •                             Genus: Hyoscyamus
  •                                 Species: Hyoscyamus niger

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Hyoscyamus niger L. was classified by Linnaeus (1753) and is a member of the Solanaceae family. The genus name Hyoscyamus derives from the Greek hyoskyamos, meaning hog bean, as pigs were purportedly immune to its toxic effects; even today hog’s bean is a common name for H. niger (Mitich, 1992). The specific epithet niger derives from the Latin for black, reflecting the colour of the seeds. Its accepted common name, black henbane, is also likely derived from the colour of the seeds, as well as the poisonous nature and poisonous effects on poultry (hen = poultry, bane = poison, Mitich, 1992). Other common names, such as stinking nightshade, herbe aux dents (French, “toothed grass”) and others, relate to anatomical or chemical characteristics of the plant. A more complete review of common and older names can be found in Hocking (1947).

H. niger is monocarpic and occurs in both annual and biennial forms in its native range. Varietal nomenclature includes some unconfirmed and confirmed names such as H. niger var. annuus Sims and H. niger var. chinensis Makino. Other synonyms include H. bohemicus F.W.Schmidt and H. pallidus Waldst. & Kit. ex Willdenow (The Plant List, 2013).

Description

Top of page

The entire plant is sticky, hairy and odorous (Mitich, 1992), with coarsely toothed or pinnatifid leaves that may be long petiolate or sessile and decurrent (Hocking, 1947; Williams, 1960). Depending on growing conditions and variety, the plant averages between 0.75 and 1.5m tall. The annual variety may be early or late flowering and germinates, blooms and dies during a single season. In the biennial variety, a tuber derived from the hypocotyl and the upper portion of the root (Lang, 1986) develops in the first year, giving the entire root the resemblance of a parsnip root. Sessile, yellowish-brown and purple-veined campanulate flowers are borne in several indeterminate scorpoid cymes (Halevy, 1986). The fruit, a pyxis (urn-shaped capsule with a lid-like top), dehisces to release hundreds of black/grey seeds (Hocking, 1947; Whitson et al., 2000). For further detailed descriptions of H. niger, see also Gibson (1964) and LaFantasie (2008).

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Biennial
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

Distribution

Top of page

The precise native range of H. niger is unknown but is thought to encompass most of Eurasia, from the Atlantic to China. In Europe, it is thought to have originally stretched from Scandinavia and Britain in the north through to the Mediterranean, as far as North Africa in the south (Hocking, 1947; Mitich, 1992). Other sources, however, suggest a smaller native range in southern Europe and West Asia (Lempiäinen, 1991). The species is now naturalized throughout temperate regions globally (USDA-ARS, 2015). Lempiäinen (1991) considers it to be a threatened species in northern Europe.

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Flora of Pakistan, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
ArmeniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
AzerbaijanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
ChinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015Cultivated
-GansuPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-GuizhouPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-HebeiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-HeilongjiangPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-JilinPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-LiaoningPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-Nei MengguPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-NingxiaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-QinghaiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-ShaanxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-ShandongPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-ShanxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-SichuanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-XinjiangPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
-YunnanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
IndiaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015Cultivated
IranPresentNativeFlora of Pakistan, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
IraqPresentNativeFlora of Pakistan, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
JapanPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015Cultivated
KazakhstanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
Korea, Republic ofPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated
KyrgyzstanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
LebanonPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
NepalPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
PakistanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015Cultivated
TajikistanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
TurkeyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
TurkmenistanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
UzbekistanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Occasionally cultivated

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
MoroccoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
TunisiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015

North America

CanadaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-AlbertaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-ManitobaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-New BrunswickPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-Nova ScotiaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-OntarioPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-Prince Edward IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-QuebecPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
USAPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-ColoradoPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-DelawarePresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-IdahoPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-IndianaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-IowaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-MainePresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-MarylandPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-MichiganPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-MontanaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-NebraskaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-NevadaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-New HampshirePresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-New MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-New YorkPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-North DakotaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-OregonPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-South DakotaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-UtahPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-VermontPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-WashingtonPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-WisconsinPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-WyomingPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
AustriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
BelarusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
BelgiumPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
BulgariaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
CroatiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
Czech RepublicPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
DenmarkPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
EstoniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
FinlandLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Lempiainen, 1991Local only in ancient settlement areas
FrancePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
GermanyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
GreecePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
HungaryPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
IrelandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
ItalyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
LatviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
LithuaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
MaltaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
MoldovaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
NetherlandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
NorwayPresentNativeDAISIE, 2015
PolandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
PortugalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
RomaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
Russian FederationPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
-Eastern SiberiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
-Western SiberiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
SerbiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
SlovakiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
SloveniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
SpainPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
SwedenPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
SwitzerlandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
UKPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
-Channel IslandsPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015
UkrainePresentIntroducedBurda et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced1891 Not invasive Australian Government Department of Agriculture, 2015; Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
-New South WalesPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015Cultivated
-South AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
-VictoriaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015Cultivated

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page

Plants of H. niger are typically scattered regionally and associated with disturbance and historical human occupation. Observations of H. niger date to 1672 and earlier in the eastern USA (Bigelow, 1817; Mack, 2003) and to 1891 in scattered cultivated areas in Australia (Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015). Introductions have been made accidentally as well as purposely for cultivation as a medicinal as well as an ornamental plant in numerous regions globally (Williams, 1960; Mitich, 1992; USDA-ARS, 2015; Utah State University Extension, 2015) for thousands of years (Leonti et al., 2009). Based on evidence from archaeology and historical texts (e.g. Ødum, 1965; Bonet, 2014; Karg et al., 2015), H. niger has been important medicinally, ceremonially and economically for centuries and longer (Lempiäinen, 1991). This explains the paucity of information regarding its native range and history of introductions.

Introductions

Top of page
Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia 1891 No Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (2015) Cultivated
Germany 5090 BC Medicinal use (pathway cause)Leonti et al. (2009) Earliest subfossil H. niger remains in Europe
USA <1672 Horticulture (pathway cause) ,
Medicinal use (pathway cause)
Yes Mack (2003)

Risk of Introduction

Top of page

The risk of introduction is currently limited to trade in seed for medicinal, cultivation or ornamental purposes, and as a potential seed contaminant (USDA-ARS, 2015). A web search for ‘black henbane seed’ results in multiple hits, many from non-commercial sources that are not regulated. Its distribution across North American borders in hay is prohibited under the North American Weed Seed Free Forage programme (North American Invasive Species Management Association, 2015), but does not otherwise appear to be regulated. Once established, each plant is capable of producing thousands of highly viable seeds with dormancy mechanisms that allow establishment of a large seedbank (Roberts, 1986; Whitson et al., 2000; Toth, 2001; LaFantasie, 2008; Leo, 2013).

Habitat

Top of page

H. niger inhabits disturbed or cultivated habitats (Bigelow, 1817; Stewart, 1934; Hocking, 1947; Gillham et al., 2004) and benefits from enhanced nutrient availability in these situations. It is limited by competition from established plant communities (LaFantasie, 2008; LaFantasie and Enloe, 2011). The correlation between its occurrence and historical or ancient human occupation (Lempiäinen, 1991; Aslan and Atamov, 2006) and cultivation suggest that its distribution largely depends on human activities, hence its presence on roadsides, waste ground, building sites, ruins, field margins and in pastures.

Habitat List

Top of page
CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Buildings Principal habitat Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page

The presence of H. niger in hay affects hay quality. It is a weed of several crops, including wheat, millet and cotton (AgroAtlas, 2015), and of pastures.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

Top of page
Plant nameFamilyContext
Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeMain
Panicum miliaceum (millet)PoaceaeMain
Papaver somniferum (Opium poppy)PapaveraceaeMain
Triticum (wheat)PoaceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Post-harvest, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

H. niger is a diploid, self-pollinating species with a chromosome number of 2n = 34 (Sangeeta Srivastava and Lavania, 1987). As an important medicinal plant, it has been subject to numerous genetic and molecular genetic studies. For example, using crosses between annual and biennial H. niger forms, Schläppi (2011) has shown that biennial habit is a dose-dependent trait with incomplete dominance, and that allelic differences exist in photoperiod-specific flowering time genes.

Reproductive Biology

H. niger is monocarpic and reproduces by seed. It occurs as both biennial and annual varieties, with the annual variety being recessive and occurring primarily in warmer climates (Stewart, 1934; Selleck, 1964; Lang, 1986; Schläppi, 2011). Germination rates tend to be low but are improved by cold stratification, scarification, a ripening period and application of plant hormones such as gibberellic acid (Roberts, 1986; Toth, 2001; LaFantasie, 2008; Leo, 2013). Seeds of H. niger are typically thought to remain viable in rangeland soils for 1-5 years, while gene bank samples have survived six years (Toth, 2001). Roberts (1986) reports that seeds from cultivated soil germinated after surviving for up to five years. Older samples and research literature indicate a potential for longer lived seeds, one example being the germination of H. niger seeds contained in an archaeological soil sample dated to the year 1300 AD (Bigelow, 1817).

Physiology and Phenology

H. niger is a long-day plant that begins flowering early in the summer season, although the timing of flowering is somewhat plastic. Vernalization is required for the biennial type but annual types may or may not benefit from vernalization (Schläppi, 2011; Fettig and Hufbauer, 2014). Seeds germinate in the autumn or early summer.

Longevity

H. niger plants live either one (annual) or two (biennial) years.

Associations

Lázaro-Bello (2009) gives details of plant communities with which H. niger is associated on waste ground in Valladolid, Spain; members of the Compositae and Gramineae [Poaceae] were particularly important. Mycorrhizal associations seem to be critical for henbane establishment and productivity in its introduced and cultivated ranges (Pandey et al., 1999; LaFantasie, 2008). 

Environmental Requirements

H. niger is predominantly a temperate species and thrives in zones with hot summers (AgroAtlas, 2015). It occurs at elevations up to 2134 m in North America and 3353 m in India (Hocking, 1947; Mitich, 1992). It prefers sandy to sandy loam soils with high organic matter and available plant nutrients (Williams, 1960; Maheshwari et al., 1989; Mitich, 1992; Gillham et al., 2004) and tolerates soil pH ranges from 3.8 to 8.7; however, it does not perform well in sodic soils (Sharma et al., 1988; Haseeb, 1998). Under cultivation it is irrigated and fertilized (Maheshwari et al., 1989; Pareek et al., 1991).

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Preferred Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Preferred Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Preferred Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral
  • very acid

Soil texture

  • light

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Ascochyta kashmiriana Pathogen Leaves not specific PADWICK and MERH, 1943
Leptinotarsa decemlineata Herbivore Leaves not specific
Meloidogyne incognita Parasite Roots not specific Haseeb et al., 1990
Pegomya hyoscyami Herbivore Leaves not specific Cameron, 1914

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page

Known natural enemies of H. niger are generalists, so there are no identified potential biological control agents with the necessary specificity. Insect predators of H. niger include, but are not limited to, belladona leaf miner (Pegomya hyoscyami) (Cameron, 1914) and Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata). Parasites and pathogens include root knot nematodes such as Meloidogyne incognita (Haseeb et al., 1990) and fungal diseases such as Ascochyta kashmiriana (Padwick and Merh, 1943) and Alternaria.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

H. niger seed does not exhibit special appendages for dispersal, so seed just drops to the ground below the parent plant, where it can remain in the soil for up to 4 years (DiTomaso et al., 2013). Introductions, intentional or accidental, are likely associated with human vectors as disturbance agents or via the seed trade, although seed, though toxic, can be consumed by livestock occasionally and spread in faeces (LaFantasie, 2008).

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionGrown worldwide as a medicinal plant Yes Yes
Disturbanceanthropogenic disturbance is a major vector in North America Yes LaFantasie, 2008
Escape from confinement or garden escapea potential source of invasion, as seed is available to home gardeners online Yes
Garden waste disposal Yes
HorticultureGrown worldwide as a medicinal plant and sometimes as an ornamental Yes Yes
Internet salesa potential source of invasion, as seed is available online Yes Yes
Medicinal useimportant in traditional and conventional medicine Yes Yes NCBI, 2015
Nursery tradeGrown worldwide as a medicinal plant and sometimes as an ornamental Yes Yes
Ornamental purposesSometimes grown as an ornamental Yes Knight, 2007
People sharing resourcesa potential source of invasion, as seed is available online Yes
Seed tradea potential source of invasion, as seed is available online Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesremoved from gardens as waste or compost Yes
Livestockpotential movement as seed; despite toxicity, livestock will consume on occasion Yes LaFantasie, 2008
Mailseed is available online Yes

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Positive and negative

Economic Impact

Top of page

The alkaloids that are produced by H. niger make the plant poisonous to humans and livestock under uncontrolled conditions (Knight and Walter, 2001). Accounts of poisoning have been documented for centuries (Bigelow, 1817); however, the direct current economic impact on livestock producers is unknown. H. niger can cause problems as a contaminant in hay and seed (North American Invasive Species Management Association, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015). As a weed of poppy, wheat, millet and cotton crops in some countries it requires control measures (AgroAtlas, 2015).

Environmental Impact

Top of page

H. niger is not a particularly aggressive invader in undisturbed situations; however, once established, monocultures may persist and suppress recovery of native plant communities (LaFantasie, 2008). It can affect the growth of native plants in its introduced range by producing a persistent litter that affects the germination and growth of native species. It also creates shade that helps it out-compete native species for light (Utah State University Extension, 2015).

Social Impact

Top of page

Accounts of H. niger involved in human poisoning have been recorded frequently (Bigelow, 1817; Alizadeh et al., 2014).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Damages animal/plant products
Impact mechanisms
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant

Uses

Top of page

Economic Value

H. niger is cultivated as an important medicinal crop worldwide, its roots, leaves and seeds serving as sources of numerous alkaloids, including atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine for use in medicine (Batugal et al., 2004; Alizadeh et al., 2014; USDA-ARS, 2015). It is also sold and grown as an ornamental for its interesting flowers and unique urn-shaped seed pods which are attractive in dry floral arrangements (Knight, 2007).

Social Benefit

It has been and still is an important ingredient in traditional and homeopathic medicine. As a cultural resource, apart from its medicinal value, H. niger is and has been used deliberately in ancient and traditional societies as a poison and as a hallucinogen in rituals.

Uses List

Top of page

Drugs, stimulants, social uses

  • Hallucinogen
  • Narcotic
  • Psychoactive
  • Religious

General

  • Ritual uses
  • Sociocultural value

Materials

  • Chemicals

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • garden plant

Detection and Inspection

Top of page

In the field, H. niger has a distinctive shape upon flowering, and developing a search image would not take much time. Surveying fields and monitoring points of entry would benefit from the use of photos, descriptions and keys, including Weeds of the West (Whitson et al., 2000), Flora of the Northeast (Magee and Ahles, 1999) and Flora of China (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). An excellent description of seed characteristics can be found in Shahid Farooq and Khan (1996); however, seed size (1.5 mm long) may make detection difficult.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

H. niger is distinct and is not likely to be confused with other species in the field. However, in southern Europe, where white or yellow henbane (H. albus) is regarded as of similar medicinal value as H. niger and is grown as an alternative, H. albus can be distinguished by its bracts, as well as the leaves being all stalked, and by the uniformly pale-yellow colour of the flower (Grieve, 1931).

Prevention and Control

Top of page

SPS Measures

H. niger movement across North American borders as a hay contaminant is limited by the North American Weed Free Forage Program certification standards for weed free forage and mulch (North American Invasive Species Management Association, 2015); however, prevention of H. niger introduction does not appear to be a priority at this time. To prevent local invasion, it is advisable to establish a vigorous and competitive plant community composed of desirable species by sowing or planting immediately following disturbance.

Public Awareness

In the USA H. niger requires control as a listed noxious weed in California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming (USDA-NRCS, 2015). Public education about H. niger is accomplished through virtual fact sheets produced by state or local weed and pest districts/groups. Other databases list H. niger as a pest weed in crops in other regions (AgroAtlas, 2015).

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

All control measures must be repeated for several years to ensure seedbank depletion. Cultural control measures include timing of tillage and establishment of competing crops/plant communities in disturbed areas (LaFantasie, 2008; Pokorny et al., 2010; AgroAtlas, 2015). H. niger does not tolerate ploughing, discing or cultivation, and plants can be burned to kill seeds (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board, 2010).

Physical/Mechanical Control

Mowing prior to flowering, hand-pulling and digging are all viable mechanical control measures for smaller infestations. The taproot needs to be fully removed. To prevent seed dispersal, plants with mature fruits should be bagged after removal. The infested area should be monitored subsequently for at least four years (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board, 2010).

Chemical Control

While there are no biological control methods for H. niger, chemical control options are available and include 2,4-D, dicamba, fluroxypyr, picloram, glyphosate, chlorsulfuron and metsulfuron (DiTomaso et al., 2013).

IPM

IPM approaches would include a programme that integrates all control measures. In uncropped situations, focus should remain on regaining the ecological integrity of the plant community to prevent H. niger establishment, but could include other control measures as well.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

Top of page

Little research has been published about the invasiveness of H. niger and its impacts on a global scale.

References

Top of page

AgroAtlas, 2015. Interactive agricultural ecological atlas of Russia and neighboring countries. Economic plants and their diseases, pests and weeds. http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/weeds/Hyoscyamus_niger/

Alizadeh A; Moshiri M; Alizadeh J; Balali-Mood M, 2014. Black henbane and its toxicity - a descriptive review. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 4(5):297-311. http://ajp.mums.ac.ir/article_3187_381.html

Aslan M; Atamov V, 2006. Flora and vegetation of stony walls in South-east Turkey (Sanliurfa). Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 5(1):153-162. http://www.ansinet.org/ajps

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, 2015. Animals, plants and pests. http://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/weeds

Batugal PA; Kanniah J; Lee SY; Oliver JT, 2004. Medicinal plants research in Asia. Volume 1: The framework and project workplans. Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia: IPGRI-APO, 221 pp.

Bigelow J, 1817. American medical botany, being a collection of the native medicinal plants of the United States, containing their botanical history and chemical analysis, and properties and uses in medicine, diet and the arts, with coloured engravings. Boston, USA: Cummings and Hilliard.

Bonet V, 2014. On analgesic and narcotic plants: Pliny and his Greek sources, the history of a complex graft. In: 'Greek' and 'Roman' in Latin medical texts. Studies in cultural change and exchange in ancient medicine [ed. by Maire, B.]. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 224-239.

Burda RI; Golivets MA; Petrovych OZ, 2015. Alien species in the flora of the nature reserve fund of the flatland part of Ukraine. Russian Journal of Biological Invasions, 6(1):6-20. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1134%2FS2075111715010038

Cameron AB, 1914. A contribution to a knowledge of the belladonna leaf-miner, Pegomyia hyoscyami, Panz., its life-history and biology. Annals of Applied Biology, 1(1):43-76.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015. Australia's virtual herbarium. Australia: Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria. http://avh.ala.org.au/#tab_simpleSearch

DAISIE, 2015. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. www.europe-aliens.org/default.do

DiTomaso JM; Kyser GB; Oneto SR; Wilson RG; Orloff SB; Anderson LW; Wright SD; Roncoroni JA; Miller TL; Prather TS, 2013. Weed control in natural areas in the western United States. Davis, California, USA: Weed Research and Information Center, University of California, 544 pp.

Fettig CE; Hufbauer RA, 2014. Introduced North American black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) populations are biennial. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 7(4):624-630. http://wssajournals.org/loi/ipsm

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Flora of Pakistan, 2015. Flora of Pakistan/Pakistan Plant Database (PPD). Tropicos website. USA: St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/Pakistan

Gibson D, 1964. Hyoscyamus niger, a study. British Homoeopathic Journal, 53(2):120-124.

Gillham JH; Hild AL; Johnson JH; Hunt ER Jr; Whitson TD, 2004. Weed Invasion Susceptibility Prediction (WISP) model for use with Geographic Information Systems. Arid Land Research and Management, 18(1):1-12.

Grieve M, 1931. Henbane. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/henban23.html

Halevy AH, 1986. CRC handbook of flowering: I-V. Boca Raton, Florida, USA: CRC Press.

Haseeb A, 1998. Effect of pH levels and plant parasitic nematodes on germination, survival and growth of Hyoscyamus niger. In: Nematology: challenges and opportunities in 21st century. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium of Afro-Asian Society of Nematologists (TISAASN), Sugarcane Breeding Institute (ICAR), Coimbatore, India, April 16-19, 1998 [ed. by Mehata, U. K.]. Luton, UK: Afro-Asian Society of Nematologists, 45-50.

Haseeb A; Srivastava NK; Pandey R, 1990. The influence of Meloidogyne incognita on growth, physiology, nutrient concentration and alkaloid yield of Hyoscyamus niger. Nematologia Mediterranea, 18(2):127-129.

Hocking GM, 1947. Henbane - healing herb of Hercules and of Apollo. Economic Botany, 1:306-16.

ISSG, 2015. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/

Karg S; Hansen UL; Wallden AM; Glastrup J; Pedersen HAE; Sonne Nielsen FO, 2015. Vegetal grave goods in a female burial on Bornholm (Denmark) from the Late Roman Iron Age period interpreted in a comparative European perspective. Danish Journal of Archaeology, 3(1):52-60.

Knight AP, 2007. A guide to poisonous house and garden plants. Jackson, Wyoming, USA: Teton NewMedia, 324 pp.

Knight AP; Walter RG, 2001. A guide to plant poisoning of animals in North America. Jackson, Wyoming, USA: Teton NewMedia, 367 pp.

LaFantasie J, 2008. Invasion ecology of black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger L.) in sagebrush, northern mixed grass and shortgrass steppe ecosystems. PhD Dissertation. Laramie, USA: University of Wyoming.

LaFantasie JJ; Enloe SF, 2011. Competitive ability of black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) when grown with three native grasses. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 4(1):159-165. http://www.wssa.net

Lang A, 1986. Hyoscyamus niger. In: Handbook of flowering: I-V [ed. by Halevy, A. H.]. Boca Raton, Florida, USA: CRC Press, 144-186.

Lázaro-Bello JA, 2009. Plant communities characterization of Hyoscyamus niger L. (Solanaceae) in Valladolid province (Spain). (Caracterización de comunidades vegetales de Hyoscyamus niger L. (Solanaceae) en la provincia de Valladolid (España).) Anales de Biología, 31:121-133.

Lempiainen T, 1991. Past occurrence of Hyoscyamus niger L. (Solanaceae) in Finland according to the macrosfossil finds. Annales Botanici Fennici, 28(4):261-272.

Leo J, 2013. The effect of cold stratification on germination in 28 cultural relict plant species: with the purpose of establishing germination protocols. First cycle, G2E Thesis. Alnarp, Sweden: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 53 pp. http://stud.epsilon.slu.se/5408/

Leonti M; Casu L; Sanna F; Bonsignore L, 2009. A comparison of medicinal plant use in Sardinia and Sicily - De Materia Medica revisited? Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 121(2):255-267. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03788741

Linnaeus C, 1753. Species Plantarum, Vol. 1. Stockholm, Sweden: L. Salvius, 179-180.

Mack RN, 2003. Plant naturalizations and invasions in the Eastern United States: 1634-1860. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden [Biological invasions. The 48th Annual Systematics Symposium of the Missouri Botanical Garden, USA, 12-13 October 2001.], 90(1):77-90.

Magee DW; Ahles HE, 1999. Flora of the Northeast: a manual of the vascular flora of New England and adjacent New York. Amherst, Massachusetts, USA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1264 pp.

Maheshwari SK; Yadav S; Gangrade SK; Pareek SK; Gupta R, 1989. Effect of sowing data and spacings on herb and alkaloid yield of black henbane. Indian Journal of Agronomy, 34(1):104-105.

Mitich LW, 1992. Intriguing world of weeds: black henbane. Weed Technology, 6:489-491.

NCBI, 2015. GenBank. Bethesda, Maryland, USA: National Center for Biodiversity Information. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gquery/?term=hyoscyamus

North American Invasive Species Management Association, 2015. What is the Weed Free Forage Program?. http://www.naisma.org/weed-free-forage

Padwick GW; Merh JL, 1943. Notes on Indian fungi. I. Mycological Papers, 7:7 pp.

Pandey R; Gupta ML; Singh HB; Kumar S, 1999. The influence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi alone or in combination with Meloidogyne incognita on Hyoscyamus niger L. Bioresource Technology, 69(3):275-278.

Pareek SK; Saxena RK; Kidwai MA; Gupta R, 1991. Effect of sowing date, stage of harvest and spacing on henbane crop. Indian Journal of Agronomy, 36(2):247-250.

Pokorny M; Mangold J; Kittle R, 2010. Black henbane: identification, biology and integrated management. MontGuide MT201005AG, 4 pp. http://www.msuextension.org/invasiveplantsMangold/documents/Publications_bulletins/black_henbane.pdf

Roberts HA, 1986. Seed persistence in soil and seasonal emergence in plant species from different habitats. Journal of Applied Ecology, 23(2):639-656

Sangeeta Srivastava (Srivastava S); Lavania UC, 1987. Karyomorphology and DNA amount in relation to chiasma formation in Hyoscyamus L. Nucleus, India, 30(3):94-98.

Schläppi M, 2011. Genetic and physiological analysis of biennialism in Hyoscyamus niger. Plant Biology, 13(3):534-540. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1438-8677.2010.00382.x/full

Selleck GW, 1964. Ecology of black henbane in Saskatchewan. Weeds, 12(2):148-50.

Shahid Farooq; Khan MH, 1996. Morphological account of some seeds of Solanaceae family. Sarhad Journal of Agriculture, 12(2):239-243.

Sharma OP; Trivedi KC; Gupta RK; Paradkar VK; Gangrade SK, 1988. Performance of two Hyoscyamus species on a sodic Vertisol. Journal of the Indian Society of Soil Science, 36(4):774-779.

Stewart GW, 1934. A phyto-chemical examination of Montana Hyoscyamus niger. MS Thesis. Missoula, Montana, USA: University of Montana, 34 pp.

The Plant List, 2013. The Plant List: a working list of all plant species. Version 1.1. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.theplantlist.org

Tóth E, 2001. Changes in germination ability during genebank storage at some medicinal plant seeds belonging to the Solanaceae family. International Journal of Horticultural Science, 7(2):51-55.

USDA-ARS, 2015. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2015. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Utah State University Extension, 2015. Range plants of Utah: black henbane. http://extension.usu.edu/rangeplants/htm/black-henbane

Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board, 2010. Black henbane. Olympia, Washington, USA: Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. http://www.nwcb.wa.gov/detail.asp?weed=74

Whitson TD; Burrill LC; Dewey SA; Cudney DW; Nelson BE; Lee RD; Parker R, 2000. Weeds of the West. 9th edition. Newark, California, USA: Western Society of Weed Science, 650 pp.

Williams LO, 1960. Drug and condiment plants. Agricultural Handbook No. 172. Washington, DC, USA: US Department of Agriculture, 37 pp.

Ødum S, 1965. Germination of ancient seeds. Floristical observations and experiments with archaeologically dated soil samples. Dansk Botanisk Arkiv, 24(2):1-70.

Contributors

Top of page

01/06/2015 Original text by:

Jordge LaFantasie, Research Scientist, Colorado State University, Colorado, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map