Weed Department
Idaho State Noxious 
Weed Law
Black Henbane

   Interesting Facts

  • Has been used as a medicinal plant since the Middle Ages
  • Been used as a beer flavoring many years ago
  • All parts of the plant are poisonous to animals and humans
  • Has a foul odor and has been called “stinking nightshade”


Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) is covered with greasy hairs and has a thick, fleshy taproot.

  • Stems are upright, tough – almost woody - and can be very thick. Plants can grow to 1m or taller and may be branched or unbranched.
  • Leaves are alternate, large – up to 15 cm wide and 20 cm or more long – and have a heavy, foul scent. Leaf edges are shallowly lobed (variable) and veins are conspicuous.
  • Flowers are pale yellow with deep purple veins and throats and are borne on spikes. Flowers are hermaphroditic – both male and female organs – and have a strong, unpleasant smell. The flower base forms a 2.5 cm urn-shaped fruit with a thickened lid that pops off at maturity and spills the numerous, tiny, black-brown seeds is primarily by seed production and sprouting from lateral roots to a lesser extent.