Hyoscyamus niger L. - Black Henbane

Systematic position.

Family Solanaceae, genus Hyoscyamus L.


Hyoscyamus biennis Kreyer.

Biological group.

Biennial winter plant.

Morphology and biology.

Plant covered with soft, sticky hairs with unpleasant smell. Thick, cylindrical root, ramified, soft. Stem 20-115 cm high, usually ramified. Leaves soft, dull; upper side dark green; underside lighter, grayish, fluffy-haired, especially along veins and leaf margin; basal leaves long-petiolate, oblong ovate or elliptical, sinuate pinnatifid, stalk leaves sessile, half-enclosing the stalk, oblong lanceolate, sinuate-lobed or incised. Flowers sessile, massed in scorpioid cymes at the stalk end and twig ends; bracts sessile, mostly oblong or narrowly-lanceolate, with few teeth or entire. Calyx 10-22 mm in length, cup-shaped, with 5 pointed tips. Crown of 5 petals, 2-4.5 cm length, funnel-shaped, dirty-yellowish with purple veins, purple-violet in the throat. Fruit is a capsule with a prominent cover. One plant gives to 400,000 seeds. Flowering period is June-August.


Western Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor, North Iran, North India, Tibet, North China, Mongolia; North America and Australia (adventive plant). The European part of the former USSR except the Far North, the Caucasus, Crimea, Western Siberia, Eastern Siberia, the Far East, Central Asia.


Grows on friable, nutrient-rich soils in zones with hot summer.

Economic significance.

Weed of poppy, wheat, millet, cotton crops; occurs in fallow lands, kitchen gardens, waste lands, vineyards, along roads, near habitations. Control measures include obligate control of Black Henbane seed content in poppy and other crop seeds; well-timed weeding of grain and other crops; careful tillage of fallow lands; mowing before flowering in all arable lands.

Reference citations:

Keller, B.A., Lyubimenko, V.N., Mal'tsev, A.I., etc. 1935. Weed plants of the USSR. V.4. Moscow & Leningrad: AN SSSR, 414 p. (in Russian).
Mal.tsev, A.I. 1939. Atlas of major species of weed plants of the USSR. V.2. Moscow & Leningrad: Selkhozgiz, 88 p. (in Russian).
Nikitin, V.V. 1983. Weed plants of the USSR flora. Leningrad: Nauka, 454 p. (in Russian).
Shishkin, B.K., Bobrov E.G., eds. 1955. Flora of the USSR. V. 22. Moscow & Leningrad: AN SSSR, 863 p. (in Russian).
Ulyanova, T.N. 1988. Weed plants in the flora of Russia and other CIS states. St.-Petersburg: VIR, 344 p. (in Russian).

© Sokolova T.D.

© Picture Luneva N.N.

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