Bittersweet, Bittersweet Nightshade

Bittersweet Nightshade

Solanum dulcamara is a perennial climbing semi-shrub. Its shoots can grow several meters long and are woody at the base.

This member of the nightshade family has many popular names. It is most often called Bittersweet or Bittersweet Nightshade. But also Bitter Nightshade, Climbing Nightshade, Woody Nightshade or just Dulcamara (Source).

Solanum dulcamara

The flowering season can last from the beginning of summer to the end of fall. It spreads by seed and runners. All parts of the plant are toxic.

Solanum dulcamara grows in a variety of habitats including bushes, fences, banks, woods, and even roadsides where young plants can be found.

Bittersweet Nightshade red berries

In urban areas, Bittersweet is not quite as common as its black-fruited relative, Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum). It differs not only in its red berries, but also in its purple flowers.

Bittersweet nightshade growing in a parking lot
Bittersweet nightshade growing in a parking lot.

Its natural range includes Europe, North Africa and Asia, extending as far as the Indian subcontinent. As an ornamental plant, it also reached other regions and became native there.

Solana dulcamara by the roadside
Solana dulcamara by the roadside (late December).

Solanum dulcamara is occasionally planted as an ornamental in parks and gardens.

Solanum dulcamara on a wall
Walls can also be used to help Solana dulcamara climb.
Solana dulcamara cuttings
Solana dulcamara is easy to propagate from cuttings. The cuttings shown above were infested with spider mites. But they disappeared after I planted them in the garden.