Plants by Common Name

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Plants by Scientific Name

Nightshade, Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara L.)

Nightshade, Bittersweet


About 1,500 Solanum species exist in the world, and they include some of the most common garden plants such as potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and eggplant (Solanum melongena L.). One of the species, Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapcicum L.) is grown as a house plant for its compact form and small round berries which turn bright red at maturity. The tomato (Lycopercison esculentum Mill.) is also a related plant. Included in this entry are descriptions of Black Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade, Silverleaf Nightshade, and Horse Nettle. Other related species may be found under their own names.
Bittersweet nightshade is also known as European bittersweet or climbing nightshade. This plant grows from rhizomes and is a slender climbing or trailing perennial reaching 6 feet in length. Leaves are alternate, ovate, simple or deeply lobed, 1-1/2 to 4 inches long, and pointed at the tip. Flowers are deep purple or bluish purple with flower stalk arising between the leaf nodes or opposite the leaves. Nearly round fruits turn red when mature and stay on the vines through mid winter.