Common Nightshade Vine – Weed, Wildflower, or Something In Between

A few years ago, I noticed the most delicate and exquisite little flower growing in my yard. Trying to identify it, I searched Google. I noticed that it wanted to climb, and for a while, I thought that I had some endangered species of clematis in my yard.

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I watched the vine for a while, and a few weeks after I first found it, I noticed that it had produced red berries. Ultimately, I discovered that my seemingly delicate garden treasure was nightshade, a cousin to the famous Deadly Nightshade, the stuff of British Murder Mysteries. In America, many people call my little vine Bittersweet, and most people regard Bittersweet as a noxious weed. Hmmmmm-a weed? This little guy is gorgeous. Once again, I’m not sure that I am willing to pull the kill switch on this sweet little plant, but I am willing to listen to what the experts say about him.

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The site Minnesota Wildflowers describes the flower:

“Branching clusters of stalked flowers arising from leaf axils and at the tips of branching stems. Flowers are ½ inch across, 5 purple petals that are flaring to tightly curled back. Protruding like a missile in the center is a yellow column of stamens with a slender style extending at the tip. The calyx has 5 short triangular lobes; the calyx and stalk are smooth to sparsely hairy.

“Fruit is a ¼-inch, green, oval to egg-shaped berry that ripens to shiny red.

“While this plant isn’t as deadly as one of its common names suggests, the berries can make you sick if eaten in any quantity. This is likely a very under-reported weed in Minnesota, commonly found in yards, field and woodland edges, vacant lots, shorelines, and other disturbed, partly shady, average to moist soils. ” Here

 

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