- Climbing nightshade, European bittersweet, Woody nightshade, Fellenwort
- A perennial vine, sometimes woody, 3-10 feet long. Plants are climbing or straggling.
- dark green
- short, soft hairs
- purple tinge
- unpleasant odor
- deeply 3-lobed or divided
- some leaves simple
- heart shaped base
- green maturing to dark red to black
- possible hairs when young
- woody base
- Blue-violet, or rarely white, five-petaled flowers with two shiny dark green spots on each petal. The anthers are fused and yellow and the petals are reflexed and fused at the base. The flowers are drooping with the cymes opposite the leaves, 10 to 25 flowers per inflorescence. Blooms from May to September.
- green ripen to red
- contain disk shaped yellow seeds
- fruit may persist
- edges of disturbed or cultivated fields
- stream or river banks
- dry soils
- prefers moist conditions
- tolerates shade
- seeds dispersed by birds
- spreads vegetatively when nodes of horizontal stems touch soil and take root
Key ID Features:
- unpleasant odor
- soft hairs
- woody based red to black stems
- blue-violet flowers
- juicy, green-red fruits
- A similar plant is Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum), which is an annual, has white to very pale purple flowers and black fruit.
- This vine can pull down smaller native plants
- seedlings are tolerant of low-light conditions
- Fruit and leaves are toxic to animals and humans.
- On Nantucket, this species produces many seedlings in the natural areas where it has establishes. It tends to be more abundant in disturbed habitats. Dense populations occur on Miacomet Pond.
Growth Form: Herb
Origin: Europe, North Africa, Eastern Asia
Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Likely Invasive
Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated
Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no