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Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)

Bittersweet nightshade Common Names: Climbing nightshade, woody nightshade, European bittersweet

Description: All parts of the plant are toxic, containing the chemical Solanine. This plant was likely intentionally introduced to the United States from Europe as an ornamental or for medicinal reasons. Became widespread by the late 1800s. This species is listed under Regulation No. 715 - Seed Law Implementation as a restricted noxious weed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

Habit: Trailing or climbing perennial woody vine, grows up to 10 ft in length.

Leaves: Simple, alternate, 2-4 in in length, broadly ovate often with basal lobes, dark green above and lighter below in color, hairless with entire margins, unpleasant odor when bruised or crushed.

Stems: Stiff stems are erect to clambering; purple above and greenish below; hollow pith and single bundle scar; unpleasant odor when bruised or crushed.

Flowers: Develop during the summer as hanging clusters of bright purple petals (occasionally white) with yellow anthers.

Fruit and seeds: Hanging clusters of bright red berries ripen in autumn and are oval, 3/8-1/2 in long and contain numerous seeds.

Habitat: Native to Eurasia. Grows well in moist disturbed sites, thickets, roadsides, fence rows, woods, cliffs, marshes, and pond and river banks.

Reproduction: By seed and fruits.

Similar species: Eastern black nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum) but is an annual with an upright growth habit, and has wavy leaf margins and black berries.

Monitoring and rapid response: Use gloves and/or protective gear when handling plant; Small infestations can be manually pulled, dug out or cut back, mowing may control but repeated mowing may be necessary. Effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate or triclopr.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and EDDMapS.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Bittersweet nightshade

Scientific Name:

Solanum dulcamara







USDA Symbol: