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Bryonia alba - L.

Common Name White Bryony
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards All parts of the plant, and especially the root, are poisonous[232]. The root can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, resulting in death within a matter of hours[232].
Habitats Vineyards and woods[232].
Range Europe to W. Asia - Iran.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Bryonia alba White Bryony


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Bryonia alba White Bryony
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Bryonia alba is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 4 m (13ft 1in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from May to June. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

One report says that the young shoots are edible[2], though caution is advised[K]. See the notes above on toxicity. The starch of the root is a famine food for extending bread flour after removing the acrid element. The young shoots are eaten. Caution: It is probably very poisonous [1b].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antirheumatic  Homeopathy

The root is cathartic, hydrogogue, irritant, pectoral and purgative[4]. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used either fresh or dried[4]. It should be used with great caution, see notes above on toxicity. The fresh root, gathered before the plant comes into flower, is made into a homeopathic remedy[232]. This is used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints[232]. It is said to be one of the best diuretics and an excellent remedy for gravel as well as all other obstructions and disorders of the urinary passage[4].

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Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

A rapid grower, it is of easy cultivation succeeding in most soils that are well drained[1], avoiding acid soils in the wild[17]. A climbing plant, attaching itself to other plants by means of tendrils[4]. Plants can be easily encouraged by scattering ripe seed at the base of hedgerows[200]. Plants in the north of their range are monoecious, but those growing in the south are dioecious[200]. Where necessary, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

White bryony. Czech Republic: posed b¡lì. Denmark: Enbo galdeb'r. Estonia: harilik koeranaeris. Latvia: Baltoji briene. Norway: Svartgalleb'r. Poland: Przestep bialy. Sweden: Hundrova.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, USA.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. In Washington, USA white bryony is Class B noxious weed

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Bryonia dioicaRed Bryony, Cretan bryony12

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Christie   Sun Oct 14 2007

My daugther (6 yo) has nerve pain from a tethered spinal cord. We are waiting for her surgery date and are trying to manage the pain until then. Using Tylenol #3, ibuprofen and regular tylenol with limited success. The Bryonia Alba has given her the best relief. My concern is the interaction with other herbs / drugs, the rate of clearance so I know when to stop dosing her prior to surgery and the maximum doseage for a 44lbs child. Any information is greatly appreciated. Sincerly, Concerned Mom

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