Woody Nightshade ( Solanum dulcamara )


Solanaceae (Nightshade family)

Synonym: Bittersweet, Dulcamara, Felonwood, Felonwort, Scarlet Berr, Violet Bloom.

Scrambling perennial. Found in hedgerows and on shingle beaches; widespread and common except in N and Ireland.Woody Nightshade or Bittersweet is a perennial plant. It can be quite scrubby and woody at the base. It throws out slender scrambling branches and when these find something to twine around, such as a hedge or bush, the plant can reach up to 2 metres high. Although they may be hairy and green when young, they turn woody and smooth with age and have an ash-grey bark.


Oval leaves have narrow basal leaflets or lobes.The stalked leaves grow alternate on the stem. They are pointed leaves with an arrow or almost heart- shape and higher up the stem they have little lobes or "wings" at the base. When crushes, the leaves give off a disagreeable smell.The leaves are always arranged to face the light and this plant has the peculiarity that the flowers clusters invariably face a different direction from the leaves.


Purple flowers with yellow stamens, The nodding purple flowers (on rare occasions white) have petals, which are bent back and often have a pair of green spots near the base. They have protruding yellow stamens, which project in a conical shape around the pistil (the seed-bearing part of the flowers). The fruits are green as first, but mature into an egg-shaped, red shiny berry.

May to September. Berries red and poisonous.Height up to 1.5m