Woody Nightshade

Poisonous Poisonous Autumn Autumn Summer Summer

Native poisonous perennial climbing vine up to 3m tall. Dramatic purple and yellow flowers followed by green then bright red fruit. In the same family as deadly nightshade but not as toxic. The flowers and leaves are very similar to the potato, another member of the family. The bright red berries can be attractive to children but there have been few documented fatalities. All of the plant contains the toxin solanine, but the amounts are variable, however touching the plant is not hazardous.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Woody Nightshade, Bittersweet, Scarlet Berry, Felonwort, Violet Bloom
Scientific Name Solanum dulcamara
Season Start May
Season End Oct
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Basic shield shaped smooth green leaves up to 80mm. Can be lobed at the base.


The clusters of flowers have striking purple petals surrounding bright yellow centre. Very similar to a potato (another Solonacea, but can have white or purple flowers).


Tomato like (another Solonacea) berries, 8-15mm. Starting green ripening to red. Eaten by the thrush family but poisonous to humans.


Simple branching like a potato or tomato.


As a climber it needs something to climb so hedgerows are an ideal habitat, but anywhere it has a chance to scramble, even long grass around field edges.

Possible Confusion

Black Nightshade, pictured, looks similar but has white flowers.


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