White Bryony

Poisonous Poisonous Autumn Autumn Spring Spring Summer Summer

A poisonous plant that is a purgative and will give you terrible diarrhoea. The root used to be sold to unfortunate victims as mandrake root with unpleasant results. It has male and female flowers on the same plant although the flowers are very similar.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names White Bryony, English Mandrake.
Scientific Name Bryonia dioica
Season Start Mar
Season End Nov
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Starting almost arrow head shaped but soon developing into palmate, five lobed leaves.

Male Flowers

Five white to green petals with wavy and orange to yellow edged stamen in the middle.

Female Flowers

Five white to green petals with green three forked stigmas in the middle.


Small rounded berries starting green and turning from red to dark crimson/purple when mature.


Almost anywhere as they spread mainly from seed dispersal by birds but do require a fence or another plant to grow up as they are a fast spreading climber.


Fairly common.

Medicinal Uses

Was used as a laxative in the past but the results were so explosive it is not considered safe for this use anymore.


1 comment for White Bryony

  1. Helen Haines says:

    I can catch the bus to MK. I live in Oxfordshire. I assume you don’t come this way?
    If I can get there I’d be interested.

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