Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions
BRIEF: Is the Royal Robe Potato Bush poisonous?
I recently purchased two Lycianthus Rantonnei (Royal Robe Potato Bush) which produce small purple flowers. I have been told by the botany dept at Arizona State University that the stems and leaves are poisonous. However, the poison control center and the nursery from which I bought them can find no information on their toxicity. Would you please give me some insight on this particular plant?
Another name for this is Paraguay Nightshade, which might give you a hint as to possible problems. I have no direct experience or knowledge of this plant's toxicity, but it is extremely likely that this member of the nightshade/tomato/potato family harbors either one of the tropane alkaloids (such as the hyoscyamine of deadly nightshade) or steroid glycoalkaloids (such as the solanine of green potatoes) or both. I sure wouldn't try eating it...