Solanum dulcamara L. - Climbing Nightshade

Solanum dulcamara plant

Family - Solanaceae

Stems - To -2m tall, from taproot or rhizomatous, erect, herbaceous to somewhat woody below, branches divergent, purple above, greenish below, erect to clambering, glabrous to antrorse strigose above.

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate. Petiole to +/-1.5cm long, winged(wing -1mm broad), sparse antrorse strigose. Blade to 8cm long, 5cm broad, typically 3-lobed in upper portion of plant, cordate to ovate in lower portion of plant, sparse pubescent to glabrous. Lateral lobes small much smaller than larger central lobe, entire. Central lobe acute to acuminate, entire.

Solanum dulcamara leaves

Inflorescence - Axillary and terminal cymes or panicles, loose, to +/-8cm long, arising opposite leaf at node. Branches of inflorescence purple, antrorse strigose. Pedicels to 7mm long, purple.

Flowers - Corolla 4-5 lobed, purple with pale yellow to greenish spots at base internally. Corolla tube short, to -1mm long. Lobes recurved at maturity, to 9mm long, 3.5mm broad, with puberulent margins and slightly uncinate at apex. Stamens 5. Anthers yellow, connate around style, dehiscing from apex, 5mm long. Style 1, exserted just beyond anthers, light green, glabrous, 7mm long. Ovary superior, green, glabrous, ovoid, 1.5mm long. Calyx tube purple, -2mm long, 5-lobed, sparse antrorse strigose, campanulate. Lobes shallow, acute to subacute, .6mm long, accrescent. Berries subglobose, red, to -1cm long, glabrous.

Solanum dulcamara flowersFlowers.

Solanum dulcamara fruitsFruits.

Flowering - May - November.

Habitat - Low woods, thickets, roadsides, fence rows, pond margins.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Other info. - Although this is a pretty plant to look at, it's not worth planting because it's introduced and very toxic. All parts of the plant are toxic. The berries resemble small bright tomatoes but are not to be eaten. This species is scattered throughout the state but is relatively uncommon.

Photographs taken at Lake Geneva State Park, Geneva, OH. 8-4-00, and in Marquette, MI., 9-10-03.


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