Silverleaf nightshade is a widespread, deep-rooted, summer-growing perennial that significantly reduces production in Australian crop and pasture systems. It has an extensive root system, which competes both directly and indirectly with summer and winter pastures and crops through depletion of soil moisture and nutrients. Long-distance dispersal of seeds is an important mechanism for its spread and management. A range of experiments was conducted to determine the factors influencing seed production and seedbank dynamics. Seed production ranged from 1,814 to 2,945 m−2. Diurnally fluctuating temperatures of 25/15 C provided the optimal thermal conditions for germination, with germination not affected by light. Osmotic stress reduced germination, with no germination occurring at −1MPa. Germination was reduced to 5% at 160 mM NaCl, suggesting some salt sensitivity. Germination occurred over a pH range of 4 to 10, but declined with increasing acidity. Viability of buried seed declined to around 20% after 3 yr, with seed buried at 10 cm remaining the most viable. The prolonged seed persistence in the soil indicates a long-term control program is necessary for depleting the soil seedbank.
Nomenclature: Silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. SOLEL.