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Nightshade is a flower plant used in Underworld: Blood Wars to create a poison that paralyzes or kills Vampires. Most Vampires die upon exposure to nightshade; stronger Vampires and Vampire-Corvinus Strain Hybrids are paralyzed instead. Nightshade is also poisonous to humans and many animals. Its effect on other types of Hybrids and Lycans is unknown.

Underworld: Blood Wars


'Varga Teaches Selene a Lesson' Clip - UNDERWORLD BLOOD WARS - In Cinemas NOW!

Varga poisons Selene with a knife coated in nightshade extract

Varga poisons Selene using a knife that had been coated in an extract from a nightshade plant. Seconds later, Selene becomes paralyzed, unable to move and barely able to speak. She remains incapacitated long enough for Semira to drain most of her blood, before Thomas and David intervene and rescue Selene.

The Vampires’ weakness to nightshade seems to be a well-kept secret, perhaps unknown even to most Vampires: neither humans nor Lycans have been known to use nightshade against Vampires. Even during the Purges, when many anti-Vampire weapons became available to the public, there is no indication that nightshade-based weapons were in use.

Normal compounds such as sleeping gas are known to be effective against Vampires and Hybrids, so in that sense, it is not surprising that poisonous species of nightshade are harmful to Vampires. However, nightshade appears to be especially effective against Vampires, causing paralysis or death within seconds.


The film does not state which species of nightshade Varga used; “nightshade” can refer to any plant in the family Solanaceae, which contains about 2,700 species. Multiple species of nightshade are highly poisonous. One possibility is that Varga used Atropa belladonna, commonly known as deadly nightshade. It grows natively in Europe and has been well known for its poisonous properties since antiquity. Its cultivation is legal in many countries of Europe, and therefore may not have been difficult for the Eastern Coven to procure.

Bittersweet nightshade

Another possibility is Solanum dulcamara, or bittersweet nightshade. Like deadly nightshade, it is poisonous and has been known since antiquity. Bittersweet nightshade bears some resemblance to the nightshade plants seen in the Elder Scrolls games Oblivion and Skyrim (especially the nightshade seen in Skyrim). Nightshade’s appearance in this series of games may have been an inspiration for its use in the Underworld series.


Nightshade in Oblivion

  • There seem to be few prior works where nightshade is poisonous to vampires.
  • Although not part of the Underworld series, in the video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, nightshade is one of the ingredients in a cure for vampirism.
  • It's unknown if the Nightshade poison can also affect Lycans or Vampire/Lycans hybrids in any way.

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