General: ill-smelling annual, branched from the base, the principal branches 10-60 cm long, creeping at least below. Herbage sparsely or moderately short-hairy, or eventually almost hairless.
Leaves: alternate, rather short-stalked, ovate to broadly elliptic in outline, the blade mostly 2-5 cm long and 1-3 cm wide, evidently pinnately lobed about halfway to the axis into about 7 to 10 narrowly triangular, blunt lobes, with wider recesses between.
Flowers: few in separate clusters, the main stalks stout, ascending. Individual flower stalks clustered almost umbel-like and becoming bent down at least in fruit. Calyx short, the 5 rather narrow lobes often unequal, up to about 6 mm long at maturity, frequently bent back at least at the tip. Corolla white, 5-9 mm wide when expanded, the 5 narrowly triangular lobes often bent back.
Fruits: berries, round, greenish, 9-14 mm thick, nodding, containing many seeds.
A weed in fields, along roadsides, disturbed sites, also sometimes found in undisturbed places at moderate and low elevations, in c., e. and some s.w. parts of MT. Native in the drier areas from the Great Plains to the Cascades.
The ripe fruit of cut-leaved nightshade is edible raw or cooked. It was used in times of food shortage by native tribes. Eaten as a fruit or vegetable, the fruit can also be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals for making bread etc. The ripe fruit can be boiled, mashed and mixed with ground chili and salt then used as a condiment with mush or bread.
A decoction of the berries was used by the Blackfoot Indians in the treatment of stomach aches and for children with diarrhea.
The unripe fruits are reported to be mildly poisonous, but are seldom eaten. The leaves are poisonous too, as they are in most species of this genus.
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