BITTER NIGHTSHADE, Solanum
dulcamara L. 1, fruiting branch; 2, cluster of flowers.
Perennial, reproducing by seeds and by rooting of prostrate stems.
Stems slender, vinelike, somewhat woody, 2 to 10 feet (0.6 to 3
m) long, twining on low vegetation or prostrate on ground. Leaves
dark green, 2 to 5 inches (5 to 12.5 cm) long, variously lobed at base,
alternate, petioled, with a disagreeable odor. Flowers purplish
or white, 5-Iobed, about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) across, in loose clusters from
the axils of the leaves. Berries oval, about 3/8 inch (9 mm) long,
light green turning bright red at maturity, containing many seeds. Seeds
about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) in diameter, round, flattened, light yellow. Found
in thickets, fence rows, edges of clearings, usually in moist soil. A mildly
poisonous plant. Should not be confused with bittersweet, which is woody
and has orange fruits and a more viny growth.