Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Woody Nightshade

Woody NightshadeWoody nightshade, which has a variety of names, is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum. It is a semi-woody herbaceous perennial vine, which scrambles over other plants, and is capable of reaching a height of 4m where suitable support is available but is more often 1­2 meters high. The leaves are 4­12 cm long, roughly arrowhead-shaped, and often lobed at the base. The flowers are in loose clusters of 3­20, 1­1.5 cm across, star-shaped, with five purple petals and yellow stamens and style pointing forward. The fruit is an ovoid red berry about 1 cm long, soft and juicy, but edible for birds, which disperse the seeds widely. Although fatal human poisonings are rare, several cases have been documented. The poison is believed to be solanine.


Photograph and text courtesy of Wikipedia