Solanum dulcamara bittersweet nightshade Solanaceae SODU*p; Bx, bg, pb, sf, up, vc, wv; NY, bl, ct, hb, n; Q, a, cu (Greller 1977); f, fa, ft, i, j, rw, tl, u, wl; K, fl, m, ow, p; R, bk, bm, c, d, ev, fk, gb, hs, is, js, lp, mls, pr, r, rw, sm, sv, t, wp;

Solanum dulcamera.Gerald D. Carr.oregon Flora Image

Solanum dulcamera.Gerald D. Carr.Oregon Flora Image (Accessed 7/2014).

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


Solanum (Accessed 7/2014).

(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. 

Origin: Eurasia. 

Habitat: Second growth woods, edges of Phragmites marshes, meadows. Usually in moist soil. Shade tolerant (Collins et al. 1985). 

Solanum dulcamara

Solanum dulcamara.Leo-Michels.www_.imagines-plantarum.de_.luirig.altervista.org_.jpg (Accessed 7/2014).

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).