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Solanum dulcamara - L.

Common Name Bittersweet. Bittersweet Nightshade, Climbing nightshade, Bittersweet, Deadly Nightshade, Poisonous
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards All parts of the plant, including the fruit, are poisonous[4, 7, 10, 13, 19], though only mildly so[21, 65]. Adverse effects include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and dilated pupils. The stem contains only low concentrates of alkaloids and therefore toxicity. Overdose may cause paralysis of the central nervous system, slow heart and respiration, low temperature, vertigo, delirium, convulsions and death [301].
Habitats Hedgerows and woody areas, avoiding acid soils[17]. Also found on moist banks by the edges of swamps[232].
Range Europe, including Britain, south and east from Norway to N. Africa and temperate Asia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet. Bittersweet Nightshade, Climbing nightshade, Bittersweet, Deadly Nightshade, Poisonous


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Solanum_dulcamara0.jpg
Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet. Bittersweet Nightshade, Climbing nightshade, Bittersweet, Deadly Nightshade, Poisonous
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Summary

Bloom Color: Blue, Lavender, Red. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Solanum dulcamara is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 2.5 m (8ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from June to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

None known

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.
Alterative  Anodyne  Cancer  Depurative  Diuretic  Emetic  Expectorant  Hepatic  
Homeopathy  Narcotic  Purgative

Bittersweet is a poisonous plant that has a long history of use in the treatment of skin diseases, warts, tumours, felons etc[238]. It should be used with caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, this is a poisonous plant that, in excess, paralyzes the central nervous system, slows the heart and respiration, and lowers temperature, causing vertigo, delirium, convulsions and death[21, 238]. See also the notes above on toxicity. All parts of the plant are alterative, anodyne, depurative, mildly diuretic, emetic, expectorant, hepatic, mildly narcotic and purgative[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 165]. The dried stem, usually collected in the autumn and preferably from the ends of branches 2 - 3 years old, is the part that is most valued medicinally, though the leaves are also used[4]. The plant is chiefly used as an alterative when taken internally in the treatment of a range of skin diseases, it is also used in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, bronchial congestion, heart ailments, ulcerative colitis and jaundice[4, 218, 238]. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin eruptions, ulcers, rheumatism and cellulite[238]. Two to three year old stems are harvested in the spring, or after the leaves have fallen in the autumn, and dried for later use[238]. The fruits are marinated in vinegar and applied to cancerous sores and other swellings[218]. A decoction of the root is used in the treatment of cancer and swellings[218]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh, green, still pliant stems and leaves, harvested as the plant begins to flower[232]. This is used in treating a variety of complaints including backaches, cough, diarrhoea, eye inflammations and joint pains[232]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Solanum dulcamara for eczema, furuncles (boils), acne, warts (see [302] for critics of commission E).

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Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils[1, 202]. Prefers a damp shady position and a neutral to alkaline soil[10, 238]. Succeeds in full sun to light shade[202]. If being grown for its medicinal uses, the plant is best placed in a dry and exposed position[4]. Hardy to at least -15°c[202]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous.

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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 - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the spring. Division in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Solanum aethiopicumMock Tomato, Ethiopian nightshadeShrub2.5 10-12  LMHNM202
Solanum ajanhuiriAjanhuiriPerennial0.0 9-11  LMHSNM20 
Solanum americanumAmerican Nightshade, American black nightshadeAnnual1.0 0-0  LMHNM100
Solanum andigenumAndigenaPerennial0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Solanum aviculareKangaroo Apple, New Zealand nightshadeShrub1.8 8-11  LMHNM22 
Solanum boreale Perennial0.0 -  LMHNM10 
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Solanum cari Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum carolinenseHorse Nettle, Carolina horsenettlePerennial1.0 3-7  LMHSNM020
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Solanum jamesiiColorado Wild Potato, Wild potatoPerennial0.2 8-11  LMHNM20 
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Solanum kurzii Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum laciniatumKangaroo AppleShrub3.0 8-11  LMHNM22 
Solanum linearifoliumMountain Kangaroo AppleShrub0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Solanum liximitante Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum luteum Annual0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Solanum lycopersicumTomato, Garden TomatoAnnual2.0 10-12 FLMHNM533
Solanum lyratum Perennial Climber2.0 -  LMHNM12 
Solanum maglia Perennial0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Solanum melongenaAubergine, EggplantPerennial1.0 8-11  LMHNM32 
Solanum muricatumPepinoShrub1.0 8-11  LMHNM400
Solanum nigrumBlack Nightshade, Common Nightshade, Poisonberry, Black NightshadeAnnual0.6 0-0  LMHNDM220
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Solanum phurejaPhureja, NightshadePerennial0.0 8-11  LMHSNM30 
Solanum piliferum Perennial0.0 -  LMHNM20 
Solanum pimpinellifoliumCurrant TomatoAnnual/Biennial1.0 10-12 FLMHNM422
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Botanical References

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Links / References

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Readers comment

Barry   Fri Aug 13 03:09:59 2004

for study information only, i wonder if there has been any study in the distillation of bittersweet nightshade berries? if so, please provide me with a link or other reference, thank you

   Tue Aug 26 2008

I have seen a report on TV about the cancer cure in a girl 14yrs old besides the doctors treatment. This link is very helpful to sent to a girlfriend of mine, her mother has lymphnodes and are malignant.

jumpinjivinjoe   Mon Nov 3 2008

This plant has been used as a pesticide on small scale.

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