Fall Wildflowers of New England
HOME GLOSSARY ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
SEARCH BY NAME SEARCH BY COLOR SEARCH BY ARRANGEMENT
Bittersweet Nightshade
Solanum dulcamara
F. Solaneaceae
General Description:

Bittersweet nightshade is a climbing vine that grows approximately 60-240 cm in length. Flowers are have blue or violet petals with yellow centers and are arranged in clusters along the length of the vine. The leaves are deep green and palmately divided into three lanceolate, uneven-sized lobes. The vine stalk is a dark reddish-brown and is often loosely coiled around itself.

Solanum ptychanthum
Flowers:

The flowers of the bittersweet nightshade are relatively small, measuring 1.5 cm. in width and are sparsely arranged in loose clusters. The petals of this radially symmetrical bloom are blue or violet and are fused, forming a corolla that opens into five distinct lobes. These lobes are often acutely reflexed against the length of the flower stalk, exposing a bright yellow, cone-shaped grouping of anthers.

Fruit:

Bittersweet nightshade produces bright red, tomato-like berries.

Leaves:

The leaves of the bittersweet nightshade are relatively large, approximating 9 cm in length. They are deep green and arranged in an alternating fashion. Leaves are divided into three lanceolate lobes: a large central lobe and two small basal lobes. Leaves are several and are arranged along the length of the vine.

Habitat:

Bittersweet nightshade grows within thickets and around clearings.

Fun Facts:

The leaves of the bittersweet nightshade have a bitter, then sweet taste, hence the name. Also known as deadly nightshade, the unripe berries and leaves of this wildflower contain the toxin solanine. When eaten in large quantities they can prove fatal.

In England, bittersweet nightshade was historically a popular means of counteracting witchcraft.

Bittersweet nightshade is considered an invasive plant.

Solanum ptychanthum
Solanum ptychanthum
HOME GLOSSARY ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
SEARCH BY NAME SEARCH BY COLOR SEARCH BY ARRANGEMENT