Solanum dulcamara is a vine to 3 m long, slender, shrubby climber, scarcely woody, spreading from rhizomes Above ground stems dying back in winter. Roots sometimes associated with mycorrhizal fungi (Waggy 2009).
Leaves alternate, to 8 x 5 cm, egg-to heart shaped, often with small basal lobes or leaflets.
Flowers purple with yellow anthers, petal lobes to 0.9 cm, in small, branched clusters, May-Sept.
Fruit fleshy-juicy, translucent, bright red, 1 cm, contains the toxic glycoalkaloid solanine
(Kingsbury1964), pulp lipid <10% (White and Stiles 1992). Eaten by many birds which disperse seeds. Foliage eaten by some small mammals (Martin et al. 1951).
Wetland status: FACU-.
Frequency in NYC: Common.
Habitat: Second growth woods, edges of Phragmites marshes, meadows. Usually in moist soil. Shade tolerant (Collins et al. 1985).
Notes: Can be aggressive, covering and shading out native plants under some conditions. There is some evidence that Solanum dulcamara may have allelopathic properties (Waggy 2009).