T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Eudicots
(Unranked):        Asterids
Order:       Solanales
Family:      Solanaceae
Genus:      Solanum
Species:     S. dulcamara
Binomial name: Solanum dulcamara
Common names: Bittersweet, Bittersweet nightshade, Bitter nightshade, Blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, Climbing nightshade, Fellenwort, Felonwood, Poisonberry, Poisonflower, Scarlet berry, Snakeberry, Trailing bittersweet, Trailing nightshade, Violet bloom.

  This plant is poisonous
Visit http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/plants-toxic-if-eaten-by-man.html

Solanum dulcamara is a species of semi-woody herbaceous perennial vine in the potato genus Solanum, family Solanaceae. It is native to northern Africa, Europe and Asia and has spread throughout the world including New Zealand where it is an invasive problem weed. It occurs in a very wide range of habitats, from bank, clay, coast, dry, hill, log, margin, moist, open, pasture, peat, ridge, riparian, riverbed, roadside, rock outcrop, sand, shaded, sheltered, shrubland, stone, terrace, track, wasteland. It is common throughout southern North Island from the Volcanic Plateau including Taranaki south.
It can be recognise as a scrambling or sprawling perennial with stems up to 4 m long. Its leaves are roughly arrowhead-shaped and often lobed (usually up to 19 cm long), and often with a few simple hairs.  Its star-shaped flowers are in small clusters of 10-25, 1-1.5 cm across, and the five petals are usually purple. The stamens are yellow and style points forward.
The fruit is an ovoid red berry about 1 cm long, soft and juicy, with the aspect and odor of a tiny tomato, and edible for some birds, which disperse the seeds widely. However, the berry is poisonous to humans and livestock and the berry's attractive and familiar look make it dangerous for children. The foliage is also poisonous to humans.